Skip to main content

Full text of "German Philosophy And Politics"

See other formats


193 B 



6G~06i9Q 



193 



60-06190 



Geman pMlosophy and politics 





_ ID 01 DE7tfifiD 1 



APR 



GERMAN PHILOSOPHY 
AND POLITICS 



BY 

JOHN DEWEY 

Professor of Philosophy in Colombia University 




WSW YOEZ 
HENHY HOLT AND COMPANY 



CoFTBiaHT, 1915, 
BY 

H3BNRY HOLT AND COMPANY 



PREFACE 

The will of John Calvin McNair established a 
Foundation at the University of North Carolina 
upon which public lectures are to be given from 
time to time to the members of the University. 
This book contains three lectures which were given 
in February of this year upon this Foundation. It 
is a pleasure to acknowledge the many courtesies 
enjoyed during my brief stay at Chapel Hill, the 
seat of the University. 

J. D. 

Columbia University, 
New York City, April, 1915. 



CONTENTS 

?A6B 

I GERMAN PHILOSOPHY : THETwoWoELDS 3 

II GEBMAH MORAL AKD POLITICAL PHI- 
LOSOPHY 47 

III THE GEBMAFIC PHILOSOPHY OP HISTOEY 91 

INDEX ..... 133 



GERMAN PHILOSOPHY AND 
POLITICS 



GERMAN PHILOSOPHY: THE TWO 

WORLDS 

THE nature of the Influence of genera! Ideas 
upon practical affairs Is a troubled question. 
Mind dislikes to find itself a pilgrim In an alien 
world. A discovery that the belief in the influ- 
ence of thought upon, action Is an illusion would 
leave men profoundly saddened with themselves 
and with the world. Were It not that the doctrine 
forbids any discovery Influencing aff airs since the 
discovery would be an Idea we should say that 
the discovery of the wholly ex post facto and idle 
character of ideas would profoundly Influence sub- 
sequent affairs. The strange thing Is that when 
men had least control over nature and their own 
affairs, they were most sure of the efficacy of 
thought. The doctrine that nature does nothing 
in vain, that It Is directed by purpose, was not 
engrafted by scholasticism upon science; It formu- 
lates an instinctive tendency. And if the doctrine 

a 



4 THE TWO WORLDS 

be fallacious, Its pathos has a noble quality. It 
testifies to the longing of human thought for a 
world of its own texture. Yet just in the degree 
In which men, by means of inventions and political 
arrangements, have found ways of making their 
thoughts effective, they have come to question 
whether any thinking Is efficacious. Our notions 
in physical science tend to reduce mind to a bare 
spectator of a machine-like nature grinding its 
unrelenting way. The vogue of evolutionary ideas 
has led many to regard intelligence as a deposit 
from history, not as a force In Its making. We look 
backward rather than forward; and when we look 
forward we seem to see but a further unrolling 
of a panorama long ago rolled up on a cosmic 
reel. Even Bergson, who, to a casual reader, ap- 
pears to reveal vast unexplored vistas of genuinely 
novel possibilities, turns out, upon careful study, 
to regard intellect (everything which in the past 
has gone by the name of observation and reflec- 
tion) as but an evolutionary deposit whose im- 
portance is confined to the conservation of a life 
already achieved, and bids us trust to instinct, or 
something akin to instinct, for the future : as If 
there were hope and consolation in bidding us trust 



THE TWO WORLDS 5 

to that which, in any case, we cannot intelligently 
direct or control. 

I do not see that the school of history which 
finds Bergson mystic and romantic, which prides 
itself upon its hard-headed and scientific character, 
comes out at a different place. I refer to the doc- 
trine of the economic interpretation of history in 
its extreme form which, so its adherents tell us, 
is its only logical form. It is easy to follow them 
when they tell us that past historians have ig- 
nored the great part played by economic forces, 
and that descriptions and explanations have been 
correspondingly superficial. When one reflects 
that the great problems of the present day are 
those attending economic reorganization, one 
might even take the doctrine as a half-hearted con- 
fession that historians are really engaged in con- 
struing the past in terms of the problems and 
interests of an impending future, instead of re- 
porting a past in order to discover some mathe- 
matical curve which future events are bound to 
describe. But no; our strictly scientific economic 
interpreters will have it that economic farces pre- 
sent an inevitable evolution, of which state and 
church, art and literature, science and philosophy 



6 THE TWO WOBLDS 

are by-products. It Is useless to suggest that 
while modern industry has given an immense stim- 
ulus to scientific inquiry, yet nevertheless the in- 
dustrial revolution of the eighteenth century 
comes after the scientific revolution of the seven- 
teenth. The dogma forbids any connection. 

But when we note that Marx gave it away that 
his materialistic interpretation of history was but 
the Hegelian idealistic dialectic turned upside 
down, we may grow wary. Is it, after all, history 
we are dealing with or another philosophy of his- 
tory? And when we discover that the great im- 
portance of the doctrine is urged upon us, when 
we find that we are told that the general recog- 
nition of its truth helps us out of our present 
troubles and indicates a path for future effort, we 
positively take heart. These writers do not seem 
to mean just what they say. Like the rest of us, 
they are human, and infected with a belief that 
ideas, even highly abstract theories, are of efficacy 
in the conduct of human affairs influencing the 
history which is yet to be. 

I have, however, no intention of entering upon 
this controversy, much less of trying to settle it. 



THE TWO WORLDS 7 

These remarks are but preliminary to a considera- 
tion of some of the practical affiliations of por- 
tions of the modern history of philosophical 
thought with practical social affairs. And if I set 
forth my own position in the controversy in ques- 
tion, the statement is frankly a personal one, in- 
tended to make known the prepossessions with 
which I approach the discussion of the political 
bearings of one phase of modern philosophy. I 
do not believe, then, that pure ideas, or pure 
thought, ever exercised any influence upon human 
action. I believe that very much of what has 
been presented as philosophic reflection is in effect 
simply an idealization, for the sake of emotional 
satisfaction, of the brutely given state of affairs, 
and is not a genuine discovery of the practical 
influence of ideas. In other words, I believe it 
to be esthetic in type even when sadly lacking in 
esthetic form. And I believe it is easy to exag- 
gerate the practical influence of even jthe more 
vital and genuine ideas of which I am about to 
speak. 

But I also believe that there are mo such things 
as pure ideas or pure reason- Every living 
thought represents a gesture made toward tibe 



8 THE TWO WORLDS 

world, an attitude taken to some practical situa- 
tion in which we are implicated. Most of these 
gestures are ephemeral; they reveal the state of 
him who makes them rather than effect a significant 
alteration of conditions. But at some times they 
are congenial to a situation in which men in masses 
are acting and suffering. They supply a model 
for the attitudes of others ; they condense into a 
dramatic type of action. They then form what 
we call the " great " systems of thought. Not all 
ideas perish with the momentary response. They 
are voiced and others hear; they are written and 
others read. Education, formal and informal, em- 
bodies them not so much in other men's minds as 
in their permanent dispositions of action. They 
are in the blood, and afford sustenance to conduct ; 
they are in the muscles and men strike or retire. 
Even emotional and esthetic systems may breed 
a disposition toward the world and take overt 
effect. The reactions thus engendered are, indeed, 
superficial as compared with those in which more 
primitive instincts are embodied. The business of 
eating and drinking, buying and selling, marry- 
ing and being given in marriage, making war and 
peace, gets somehow carried on along with any ancE 



THE TWO WOELDS 9 

every system of ideas which the world has known. 
But how, and when and where and for what men 
do even these things is tremendously affected by 
the abstract ideas which get into circulation. 

I take it that I may seem to be engaged in an 
emphatic urging of the obvious. However it may 
be with a few specialized schools of men, almost 
everybody takes it as a matter of course that ideas 
influence action and help determine the subsequent 
course of events. Yet there is a purpose in this 
insistence. Most persons draw the line at a certain 
kind of general ideas. They are especially prone 
to regard the ideas which constitute philosophic 
theories as practically innocuous as more or less 
amiable speculations significant at the most for 
moments of leisure, in moments of relief from pre- 
occupation with affairs. Above all, men take the 
particular general ideas which happen to affect 
their own conduct of life as normal and inevitable. 
Pray what other ideas would any sensible man 
have? They forget the extent to which these ideas 
originated as parts of a remote and technical 
theoretical system, which by multitudes of non- 
reflective channels has infiltrated into their habits 



10 THE TWO WORLDS 

of Imagination and behavior. An expert Intel- 
lectual anatomist, my friends, might dissect you 
and find Platonic and Aristotelian tissues, organs 
from St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas,. 
Locke and Descartes, in the make-up of the 
ideas by which you are habitually swayed, and 
find, indeed, that they and other thinkers of whose 
names you have never heard constitute a larger 
part of your mental structure than does the Calvin 
or Kant, Darwin or Spencer, Hegel or Emerson, 
Bergson or Browning to whom you yield conscious 
allegiance. 

Philosophers themselves are naturally chiefly re- 
sponsible for the ordinary estimate of their own 
influence, or lack of influence. They have been 
taken mostly at their own word as to what they 
were doing, and what for the most part they have 
pretended to do is radically different from what 
they have actually done. They are quite negligible 
as seers and reporters of ultimate reality^ or the 
essential natures of things. And it is in this 
aspect that they have mostly fancied seeing them- 
selves. Their actual office has been quite other. 
They have told about nature and life and society 
in terms of collective human desire and aspiration 



THE TWO WORLDS II 

as these were determined by contemporary dif- 
ficulties and struggles, 

I have spoken thus far as if the influence of 

general ideas upon action were likely to be bene- 
ficial. It goes against the grain to attribute evil 
to the workings of intelligence. But we might 
as well face the dilemma. What is called pure 
thought, thought freed from the empirical contin- 
gencies of life, would, even if it existed, be irrel- 
evant to the guidance of action. For the latter 
always operates amid the circumstance of contin- 
gencies. And thinking which is colored by time 
and place must always be of a mixed quality. In 
part, it will detect and hold fast to more perma- 
nent tendencies and arrangements ; in part, it will 
take the limitations of its own period as neces- 
sary and universal even as intrinsically desir- 
able. 

The traits which give thinking effectiveness for 
the good give it also potency for harm. A phys- 
ical catastrophe, an earthquake or conflagration, 
acts only where it happens. While its effects en- 
dure, it passes away. But it is of the nature of 
ideas to be abstract: that is to say, severed from 
the circumstances of their origin, and through 



13 THE TWO WORLDS 

embodiment in language capable of operating in 
remote climes and alien situations. Time heals 
physical ravages, but it may only accentuate the 
evils of an intellectual catastrophe for by no 
lesser name can we call a systematic intellectual 
error. To one who is professionally preoccupied 
with philosophy there is much in its history which 
is profoundly depressing. He sees ideas which 
were not only natural but useful in their native 
time and place, figuring in foreign contexts so 
as to formulate defects as virtues and to give 
rational sanction to brute facts, and to oppose 
alleged eternal truths to progress. He sees move- 
ments which might have passed away with change 
of circumstance as casually as they arose, acquire 
persistence and dignity because thought has taken 
cognizance of them and given them intellectual 
names. The witness of history is that to think 
in general and abstract terms is dangerous; it 
elevates ideas beyond the situations in which they 
were born and charges them with we know not what 
menace for the future. And in the past the danger 
has been the greater because philosophers have 
so largely purported to be concerned not with con- 
temporary problems of living, but with essen- 



THE TWO WORLDS U 

tial Truth and Reality viewed under the form of 
eternity. 

In bringing these general considerations to a 
close, I face an embarrassment. I must choose 
some particular period of intellectual history for 
more concrete illustration of the mutual relation- 
ship of philosophy and practical social affairs 
which latter, for the sake of brevity, I term 
Politics. One is tempted to choose Plato. For 
in spite of the mystic and transcendental coloring 
of his thought, it was he who defined philosophy as 
the science of the State, or the most complete and 
organized whole known to man; it is no accident 
that his chief work is termed the " Republic.** In 
modern times, we are struck by the fact that Eng- 
lish philosophy from Bacon to John Stuart Mill 
has been cultivated by men of affairs rather than 
by profes'sors, and with a direct outlook upon so- 
cial interests. In Prance, the great period of phi- 
losophy, the period of les pJufosophes, was the time 
in which were forged the ideas which connect in 
particular with the French Revolution and in gen- 
eral with the conceptions- which spread so rapidly 
through the civilized world, of the indefinite per- 
fectibility of humanity, the rights of man, and the * 



U THE TWO WORLDS 

promotion of a society as wide as humanity, based 

upon allegiance to reason. 

Somewhat arbitrarily I have, however, selected 
some aspects of classic German thought for my 
illustrative material. Partly, I suppose, because 
one is piqued by the apparent challenge which its 
highly technical, professorial and predominantly 
a priori character offers to the proposition that 
there is close connection between abstract thought 
and the tendencies of collective life. More to the 
point, probably, is the fact that the heroic age 
of German thought lies almost within the last cen- 
tury, while the creative period of continental 
thought lies largely in the eighteenth century, and 
that of British thought still earlier. It was Taine, 
the Frenchman, who said that all the leading ideas 
of the present day were produced in Germany be- 
tween 1780 and 1830. Above all, the Germans, 
as we say, have philosophy in their blood. Such 
phrases generally mean something not about 
hereditary qualities, but about the social condi- 
tions under which ideas propagate and circulate. 

Now Germany is the modern state which pro- 
vides the greatest facilities for general ideas to 
take effect through social inculcation. Its sys- 



THE TWO WOELDS 15 

tern of education is adapted to that end. 
Higher schools and universities in Germany are 
really, not just nominally, under the control 
of the state and part of the state life. In 
spite of freedom of academic instruction when 
once a teacher is installed in office, the political 
authorities have always taken a hand, at critical 
junctures , in determining the selection of teachers 
in subjects that had a direct bearing upon 
political policies. Moreover, one of the chief func- 
tions of the universities is the preparation of 
future state officials. Legislative activity is dis- 
tinctly subordinate to that of administration con- 
ducted by a trained civil service, or, if you please, 
bureaucracy. Membership in this bureaucracy is 
dependent upon university training. Philosophy, 
both directly and indirectly, plays an unusually 
large r61e in the training. The faculty of law does 
not chiefly aim at the preparation of practicing 
lawyers. Philosophies of jurisprudence are essen- 
tial parts of the law teaching ; and every one of the 
classic philosophers took a hand in writing a phi- 
losophy of Law and of the State. Moreover, in 
the theological faculties, which are also organic 
parts of state-controlled institutions, the theology 



16 THE TWO WOELDS 

and higher criticism of Protestant Germany have 
been developed, and developed also in close con- 
nection with philosophical systems like those of 
Kant, Schleiermacher and Hegel. In short, the 
educational and administrative agencies of Ger- 
many provide ready-made channels through which 
philosophic ideas may flow on their way to prac- 
tical affairs. 

Political public opinion hardly exists in Ger- 
many in the sense in which it obtains in France, 
Great Britain or this country. So far as it ex- 
ists, the universities may be said to be its chief 
organs. They, rather than the newspapers, 
crystallize it and give it articulate expression. In- 
stead of expressing surprise at the characteristic 
utterances of university men with reference to the 
great war, we should then rather turn to the past 
history in which the ideas now uttered were gen- 
erated. 

In an account of German Intellectual history 
sufficiently extensive we should have to go back 
at least to Luther. Fortunately, for our pur- 
poses, what he actually did and taught is not so 
important as the more recent tradition concerning 
his peculiarly Germanic status and office. All 



THE TWO WORLDS 17 

peoples are proud of all their great men. Germany 
is proud of Luther as its greatest national hero. 
But while most nations are proud of their great 
men, Germany is proud of itself rather for pro- 
ducing Luther. It finds him as a Germanic prod- 
uct quite natural nay, inevitable. A belief in 
the universal character of his genius thus nat- 
urally is converted into a belief of the essentially 
universal quality of the people who produced 
him. 

Heine was not disposed by birth or tempera- 
ment to overestimate the significance of Luther. 
But here is what he said: 

" Luther is not only the greatest but the most 
German man in our history. . . . He possessed 
qualities that we seldom see associated nay, that 
we usually find in the most hostile antagonism. 
He was at once a dreamy mystic and a practical 
man of action. . . . He was both a cold scholastic 
word-sifter and an inspired God-drunk prophet. 
. . . He was full of the awful reverence of God, 
full of self-sacrificing devotion to the Holy Spirit, 
he could lose himself entirely in pure spirituality. 
Yet he was fully acquainted with the glories of 
this earth ; he knew how estimable they are ; it was 
his lips that uttered the famous maxim 



18 THE TWO WORLDS 

" * Who loves not woman, wine and song, 
Remains a fool his whole Hfe long. 9 

He was a complete man, I might say an absolute 
man, in whom there was no discord between matter 

and spirit. To call him a spiritualist would be 
as erroneous as to call him a sensualist. . . . 
Eternal praise to the man whom we have to thank 
for the deliverance of our most precious posses- 



And again speaking of Luther's work: 

"Thus was established in Germany spiritual 
freedom, or as it is called, freedom of thought. 
Thought became a right and the decisions of rea- 
son legitimate. 3 * 

The specific correctness of the above is of slight 
importance as compared with the universality of 
the tradition which made these ideas peculiarly 
Germanic, and Luther, therefore, a genuine na- 
tional hero and type. 

It is, however, with Kant that I commence. In 
Protestant Germany his name is almost always 
associated with that of Luther. That he brought 
to consciousness the true meaning of the Lutheran 



THE TWO WORLDS 19 

reformation Is a commonplace of the German his- 
torian. One can hardly convey a sense of the 
unique position he occupies in the German thought 
of the last two generations. It is not that every 
philosopher is a Kantian, or that the professed 
Kantians stick literally to his text. Far from it. 
But Kant must always be reckoned with. No posi- 
tion unlike his should be taken up till Kant has 
been reverently disposed of, and the new position 
evaluated in his terms. To scoff at him is fair 
sacrilege. In a genuine sense, he marks the end 
of the older age. He is the transition to distinc- 
tively modern thought. 

One shrinks at the attempt to compress even his 
leading ideas into an hour. Fortunately for me, 
few who read my attempt will have sufficient 
acquaintance with the tomes of Kantian in- 
terpretation and exposition to appreciate the full 
enormity of my offense. For I cannot avoid the 
effort to seize from out his highly technical writ- 
ings a single idea and to label that his germinal 
idea. For only in this way can we get a clew to 
those general ideas with which Germany char- 
acteristically prefers to connect the aspirations 
and convictions that animate its deeds. 



20 THE TWO WORLDS 

Adventuring without further preface Into this 
field, I find that Kant's decisive contribution is the 
idea of a dual legislation of reason by which are 
marked off two distinct realms that of science 
and that of morals. Each of these two realms has 
its own final and authoritative constitution: On 
one hand, there is the world of sense, the world 
of phenomena in space and time in which science 
is at home ; on the other hand, is the supersensible, 
the noumenal world, the world of moral duty and 
moral freedom. 

Every cultivated man is familiar with the con- 
flict of science and religion, brute fact and ideal 
purpose, what is and what ought to be, necessity 
and freedom. In the domain of science causal de- 
pendence is sovereign; while freedom is lord of 
moral action. It is the proud boast of those who 
are Kantian in spirit that Kant discovered laws 
deep in the very nature of things and of human 
experience whose recognition puts an end forever 
to all possibility of conflict. 

In principle, the discovery is as simple as its 
application is far-reaching. Both science and 
moral obligation exist. Analysis shows that each 
is based upon laws supplied by one and the same 



THE TWO WORLDS 21 

reason (of which, as he Is fond of saying, reason 
is the legislator) ; but laws of such a nature that 
their respective jurisdictions can never compete. 
The material for the legislation of reason in the 
natural world is sense. In this sensible world of 
space and time, causal necessity reigns : such is the 
decree of reason itself. Every attempt to find 
freedom, to locate ideals, to draw support for 
man's moral aspirations in nature, is predoomed to 
failure. The effort of reason to do these things is 
contrary to the very nature of reason itself: it 
is self-contradictory, suicidal. 

When one considers the extent in which religion 
has been bound up with belief in miracles, or de- 
partures from the order of nature ; when one notes 
how support for morals has been sought in natural 
law; how morals have been tied up with man's 
natural tendencies to seek happiness and with 
consequences in the way of reward of virtue and 
punishment of vice ; how history has been explained 
as a play of moral forces in short, the extent to 
which both the grounds and the sanctions for 
morality have been sought within the time and 
space world, one realizes the scope of the revolu- 
tion wrought by Kant, provided his philosophy be 



22 THE TWO WOELBS 

true. Add to this the fact that men in the past 
have not taken seriously the idea that every exist- 
ence in space, every event in time, is connected by 
bonds of causal necessity with other existences and 
events, and consequently have had no motive for 
the systematic pursuit of science. How is the late 
appearance of science in human history to be ac- 
counted for? How are we to understand the com- 
paratively slight influence which science still has 
upon the conduct of life? Men, when they have not 
consciously looked upon nature as a scene of ca- 
price, have failed to bring home to themselves that 
nature is a scene of the legislative activity of rea- 
son in the material of sense. This fact the Kantian 
philosophy brings home to man once for all; it 
brings it home not as a pious wish, nor as a pre- 
carious hope confirmed empirically here and there 
by victories won by a Galileo or a Newton, but as 
an indubitable fact necessary to the existence of 
any cognitive experience at all. The reign of law 
in nature is the work of the same reason which 
proceeds empirically and haltingly to the discov- 
ery of law here and there. Thus the acceptance 
of the Kantian philosophy not only frees man at 
a single stroke from superstition, sentimentalism 



THE TWO WORLDS 23 

and moral and theological romanticism, but gives 
at the same stroke authorization and stimulation 
to the detailed efforts of man to wrest from nature 
her secrets of causal law. What sparse groups of 
men of natural science had been doing for the 
three preceding centuries, Kant proclaimed to be 
the manifestation of the essential constitution 
of man as a knowing being. For those who accept 
the Kantian philosophy, itf is accordingly the 
magna charta of scientific work: the adequate 
formulation of the constitution which directs and 
justifies their scientific inquiries. It is a truism 
to say that among the Germans as nowhere else has 
developed a positive reverence for science. In what 
other land does one find in the organic law men- 
tion of Science, and read in its constitution an 
express pro<vision that " Science and its teaching 
are free'*? 

But this expresses only half of Kant's work. 
Reason is itself supersensible. Giving law to the 
material of sense and so constituting nature, It 
is in itself above sense and nature, as a sovereign 
is above his subjects. Hie supersensible world is 
thus a more congenial field for its legislative activ- 
ity than the physical world of space and time. 



m THE TWO WORLDS 

But is any such field open to human experience? 
Has not Kant himself closed and locked the gates 
in his assertion that the entire operation of man's 
knowing powers is confined to the realm of sense 
in which causal necessity dominates? Yes, as far 
as knowledge is concerned. No, as far as moral 
obligation is concerned. The fact of duty, the 
existence of a categorical command to act thus and 
so, no matter what the pressure of physical sur- 
roundings or the incitation of animal inclinations, 
is as much a fact as the existence of knowledge 
of the physical world. Such a command cannot 
proceed from nature. What is cannot introduce 
man to what ought to be, and thus impose its 
own opposite upon him. Nature only enmeshes 
men in its relentless machine-like movement. The 
very existence of a command in man to act for 
the sake of what ought to be no matter what 
actually is is thus of itself final proof of the 
operation of supersensible reason within- human 
experience: not, indeed, within theoretical or cog- 
nitive experience, but within moral experience. 

The moral law, the law of obligation, thus pro- 
ceeds from a source in man above reason. It is 
token of his membership as a moral being in a 



THE TWO WORLDS 25 

kingdom of absolute ends above nature. But it 
Is also directed to something in man which Is 
equally above nature: It appeals to and demands 
freedom. Reason is Incapable of anything so irra- 
tional, so self -contradictory, as Imposing a law 
of action to which no faculty of action corre- 
sponds. The freedom of the moral will Is the 
answer to the unqualified demand of duty. It Is 
not open to man to accept or reject this truth as 
he may see fit. It Is a principle of reason which 
Is involved in every exercise of reason. In denying 
it In name, man none the less acknowledges It In 
fact. Only men already sophisticated by vice who 
are seeking an excuse for their viciousness ever 
try to deny, even In words, the response which 
freedom makes to the voice of duty. Since, how- 
ever, freedom is an absolute stranger to the natural 
and sensible world, man's possession of moral free- 
dom is the final sign and seal of his membership 
in a supersensible world. The existence of an 
ideal or spiritual realm with Its own laws Is thus 
certified to by the fact of man's own citizenship 
within it. But, once more, this citizenship and 
this certification are solely moral Scientific or in- 
tellectual warrant for it Is impossible or self- 



26 THE TWO WORLDS 

contradictory, for science works by the law of 
causal necessity with respect to what is, igno- 
rant of any law of freedom referring to what 
should be. 

With the doors to the supersensible world now 
open, it is but a short step to religion. Of the 
negative traits of true religion we may be sure 
in advance. It will not be based upon intellectual 
grounds. Proofs of the existence of God, of the 
creation of nature, of the existence of an imma- 
terial soul from the standpoint of knowledge are 
all of them impossible. They transgress the limits 
of knowledge, since that is confined to the sensible 
world of time and space. Neither will true reli- 
gion be based upon historic facts such as those 
of Jewish history or the life of Jesus or the author- 
ity of a historic institution like a church. For 
all historic facts as such fall within the realm of 
time which is sensibly conditioned. From the 
points of view of natural theology and historic 
religions Kant was greeted by his contemporaries 
as the a all-shattering." Quite otherwise is it, 
however, as to moral proofs of religious ideas and 
ideals. In Kant's own words : " I have found it 
necessary to deny knowledge of God, freedom and 



THE TWO WORLDS 27 

Immorlality in order to find a place for faith **- 
faith being a moral act* 

Then he proceeds to reinterpret in terms of the 
sensuous natural principle and the ideal rational 
principle the main doctrines of Lutheran Prot- 
estantism. The doctrines of incarnation* original 
sin, atonement, justification by faith and sanctifi- 
cation, while baseless literally and historically* are 
symbols of the dual nature of man, as phenomenal 
and noumenai And while Kant scourges ecclesi- 
astical religions so far as they have relied upon 
ceremonies and external authority, upon external 
rewards and punishments, yet he ascribes transi- 
tional value to them in that they have symbolized 
ultimate moral truths. Although dogmas are but 
the external vesture of inner truths, yet it may 
be good for us " to continue to pay reverence to 
the outward vesture since that has served to bring 
to general acceptance a doctrine which really rests 
upon an authority within the soul of man, and 
which, therefore, needs no miracle to commend it. w 

It is a precarious undertaking to single out 
same one tiling in German philosophy m of typical 
importance in understanding German national life. 
Yet I am committed to the venture. My coavic- 



28 THE TWO WORLDS 

tion is that we have its root idea in the doctrine of 
Kant concerning the two realms, one outer, phys- 
ical and necessary, the other inner, ideal and free. 
To this we must add that, in spite of their sep- 
arateness and independence, the primacy always 
lies with the inner. As compared with this, the 
philosophy of a Nietzsche, to which so many resort 
at the present time for explanation of what seems 
to them otherwise inexplicable, is but a superficial 
and transitory wave of opinion. Surely the chief 
mark of distinctively German civilization is its 
combination of self-conscious idealism with unsur- 
passed technical efficiency and organization in the 
varied fields of action. If this is not a realization 
in fact of what is found in Kant, I am totally at 
loss for a name by which to characterize it. I do 
not mean that conscious adherence to the philoso- 
phy of Kant has been the cause of the marvelous 
advances made in Germany in the natural sciences 
and in the systematic application of the fruits of 
intelligence to industry, trade, commerce, military 
affairs, education* civic administration and indus- 
trial organization. Such a claim would be absurd. 
But I do mean, primarily, that Kant detected and 
formulated the direction in which the German 



THE TWO WORLDS 9 

genius was moving, so that his philosophy is of 
immense prophetic significance; and, secondarily, 
that his formulation has furnished a banner and a 
conscious creed which in solid and definite fashion 
has intensified and deepened the work actually un- 
dertaken. 

In bringing to an imaginative synthesis what 
might have remained an immense diversity 
of enterprises, Kantianism has helped formulate 
a sense of a national mission and destiny. Over 
and above this, his formulation and its influence 
aids us to understand why the German conscious- 
ness has never been swamped by its technical ef- 
ficiency and devotion, but has remained self- 
consciously, not to say self-righteously, idealistic, 
Such a work as Germany has undertaken might 
well seem calculated to generate attachment to a 
positivistic or even materialistic philosophy and 
to a utilitarian ethics. But no; the teaching of 
Kapt had put mechanism forever in its subordinate 
place at the very time it inculcated devotion to 
mechanism in its place. Above and beyond as an 
end, for the sake of which all technical achieve- 
ments, all promotion of health, wealth and happi- 
ness, exist, lies the realm of inner freedom, of the 



SO THE TWO WORLDS 

ideal and the supersensible. The more the Ger- 
mans accomplish in the way of material conquest, 
the more they are conscious of fulfilling an ideal 
mission; every external conquest affords the 
greater warrant for dwelling in an inner region 
where mechanism does not intrude. Thus it turns 
out that while the Germans have been, to employ 
a catchword of recent thought, the most technically 
pragmatic of all peoples in their actual conduct 
of affairs, there is no people so hostile to the spirit 
of a pragmatic philosophy. 

The combination of devotion to mechanism and 
organization in outward affairs and of loyalty to 
freedom and consciousness in the inner realm has 
its obvious attractions. Realized in the common 
temper of a people it might well seem invincible. 
Ended is the paralysis of action arising from the 
split between science and useful achievements on 
one side and spiritual and ideal aspirations on 
the other. Each feeds and reinforces the other. 
Freedom of soul and subordination of action dwell 
in harmony. Obedience, definite subjection and 
control, detailed organization is the lesson en- 
forced by the rule of causal necessity in the outer 
World of space and time in which action takes 



THE TWO WORLDS 31 

place. Unlimited freedom, the heightening of con- 
sciousness for its own sake, sheer reveling in noble 
ideals, the law of the inner world. What more can 
mortal man ask? 

It would not be difficult, I imagine, to fill the 
three hours devoted to these lectures with quota- 
tions from representative German authors to the 
effect that supreme regard for the inner meaning 
of things, reverence for inner truth in disregard 
of external consequences of advantage or disad- 
vantage, is the distinguishing mark of the German 
spirit as against, say, the externality of the Latin 
spirit or the utilitarianism of Anglo-Saxondom. 
I content myself with one quotation, a quota- 
tion which also indicates the same inclina- 
tion to treat historic facts as symbolic of great 
truths which is found in Kant's treatment of 
church dogmas. Speaking of the Germanic lan- 
guages, an historian of German civilization says: 

a While aU other Indo-European languages al- 
low a wide liberty in placing the accent and make 
external considerations, such as the quantity of 

the syllables and euphony, of deciding influence, 
the Germanic tribes show a remarkable and inten- 
tional transition to an internal principle of ac- 



32 THE TWO WORLDS 

centuatlon. . . . Of all related peoples the Ger- 
manic alone puts the accent on the root syllable 
of the word, that is, on the part that gives it its 
meaning. There is hardly an ethnological fact 
extant which gives so much food for thought as 
this. What leads these people to give up a habit 
which must have been so old that it had become 
instinctive, and to evolve out of their own minds 
a principle which indicates a power of discrimina- 
tion far in advance of anything we are used to 
attribute to the lower stages of civilization? Cir- 
cumstances of which we are not. now aware must 
have compelled them to distinguish the inner es- 
sence of things from their external form, and must 
have taught them to appreciate the former as of 
higher, indeed as of sole, importance. It is this 
accentuation of the real' substance of things, the 
ever-powerful desire to discover this real substance, 
and the ever-present impulse to give expression 
to this inner reality which has become the con- 
trolling trait of the Germanic soul. Hence the 
conviction gained by countless unfruitful efforts, 
that reason alone will never get at the true founda- 
tion of things ; hence the thoroughness of German 
science; hence a great many of the qualities that 
explain Germanic successes and failures; hence, 
perhaps, a certain stubbornness and obstinacy, the 
unwillingness to give up a conviction once formed; 
hence the tendency tq mysticism; hence that con- 



THE TWO WORLDS $3 

tinuous struggle which marks the history of Ger- 
man art, the struggle to give to the contents 
powerful and adequate expression, and to satisfy 
at the same time the requirements of esthetic ele- 
gance and beauty, a struggle in which the victory 
is - ever on the side of truth, though it be homely, 
over beauty of form whenever it appears deceitful ; 
hence the part played by music as the only ex- 
pression of those imponderable vibrations of the 
soul for which language seems to have no words ; 
hence the faith of the German in his mission among 
the nations as a bringer of truthj as a recognizer 
of the real value of things as against the hollow 
shell of beautiful form, as the doer of right deeds 
for their own sake and not for any reward beyond 
the natural outcome of the deed itself." 

The division established between the outer 
realm, in which of course acts fall, and the inner 
realm of consciousness explains what is otherwise 
so paradoxical to a foreigner in German writings : 
The constant assertion that Germany brought to 
the world the conscious recognition of the prin- 
ciple of freedom coupled with the assertion of the 
relative Incompetency of the German folk em 
masse for political self -direction. To one sat- 
urated by the English tradition which , identifies 



** THE TWO WOBLDS 

freedom with power to act upon one ? s ideas, to 
make one's purposes effective in regulation of 
public affairs, the combination seems self-con- 
tradictory. To the German it is natural. Read- 
ers who have been led by newspaper quotations 
to regard Bernhardi as preaching simply a gospel 
of superior force will find in his writings a con- 
tinual assertion that the German spirit is the spirit 
of freedom, of complete intellectual self-determina- 
tion; that the Germans have " always been the 
standard bearers of free thought/* We find him 
supporting his teachings not by appeal to 
Nietzsche, but by the Kantian distinction between 
the ** empirical and rational ego." 
It is Berahardi who says : 

* c Two great movements were born from the Ger- 
man intellectual life, on which, henceforth, all the 
mteUectnal cmd moral progress of mankind must 
rest: The Reformation and the critical philoso- 
phy. The Reformation that broke the intellectual 
yoke imposed by the Church, which checked all 
free progress; and the Critique of Pure Reason 
which put a stop to the caprice of philosophic 
speculation by defining for the human mind the 
limitations of its capacities for knowledge, and at 
the same time pointed out the way in which knowj* 



" - THE TWO WORLDS S5 

edge is really possible. On this substructure was 
developed the intellectual life of our time, whose 
deepest significance consists in the attempt to 
reconcile the result of free inquiry with the reli- 
gious needs of the heart, and thus to lay a founda- 
tion for the harmonious organization of mankind. 
. . . The German nation not only laid the founda- 
tions of this great struggle for a harmonious devel- 
opment of humanity but took the lead in it. We 
are thus incurring an obligation for the future 
from which we cannot shrink. We must be pre- 
pared to be the leader in this campaign which is 
being fought for the highest stake that has been 
offered to human efforts. . . . To no nation ex- 
cept the German has it been given to enjoy in its 
Inner self * that which is given to mankind as a 
whole.* ... It is this quality which especially fits 
us for leadership in the intellectual domain and 
imposes upon m tlw obligation to maintain that 
position." * 

More significant than the words themselves 
are their occasion and the occupation of the one 
who utters them. Outside of Germany, cavalry 
generals who employ philosophy to bring home 

practical lessons are, I think, rare. Outside of 

* Berahaidi, * e Germany and the Kexfc War," ppt 73-T& 
Italics not in Hie original text. 



$6 THE TWO WORLDS 

Germany, it would be hard to find an audience 
where an appeal for military preparedness would 
be reinforced by allusions to the Critique of Pure 
Keason. 

Yet only by taking such statements seriously 
can one understand the temper in which opinion 
in Germany meets a national crisis. When the~ 
philosopher Eucken (who received a Nobel prize 
for contributing to the idealistic literature of the 
world) justifies the part taken by Germany in a 
world war because the Germans alone do not repre- 
sent a particularistic and nationalistic spirit, but 
embody the u universalism " of humanity itself, he 
utters a conviction bred in German thought by 
the ruling interpretation of German philosophic 
idealism. By the side of this motif the glorifica- 
tion of war as a biologic necessity, forced by in- 
crease of population, is a secondary detail, giving 
a totally false impression when isolated from its 
context. The main thing is that Germany, more 
than any other nation, in a sense alone of all na- 
tions, embodies the essential principle of humanity : 
freedom of spirit, combined with thorough and de- 
tailed work in the outer sphere where reigns causal 
law, where obedience, discipline and subordina- 



THE TWO WOELDS S7 

tion are the necessities of successful organization, 
It is perhaps worth while to recaE that Kant Eved, 
taught and died in Konigsberg; and that Konigs- 
berg was the chief city of east Prussia, an island 
still cut off in his early years from western 
Prussia, a titular capital for the Prussian kings 
where they went for their coronations. His life- 
work in philosophy coincides essentially with the 
political work of Frederick the Great, the king 
who combined a regime of freedom of thought and 
complete religious toleration with the most ex- 
traordinary display known in history of adminis- 
trative and military efficiency. Fortunately for 
our present purposes, Kant, in one of his minor 
essays, has touched upon this combination and 
stated its philosophy in terms of his own thought. 
The essay in question is that entitled a What is 
the Enlightenment? 5 ' His reply in substance is 
that it is the coming of age on the part of human- 
ity: the transition from a state of minority or 
infancy wherein man does not dare to think freely 
to that period of majority or maturity in which 
mankind dares to use its own power of under- 
standing. The growth of this power of free use 
of reason is the sole hope of progress in human 



88 THE TWO WOELDS 

affairs. External revolutions which are not the 
natural expression of an inner or intellectual revo- 
lution are of little significance. Genuine growth 
is found in the slow growth of science and philoso- 
phy and in the gradual diffusion throughout the 
mass of the discoveries and conclusions of those 
who are superior in intelligence. True freedom 
is inner freedom 9 freedom of thought together 
with the liberty consequent upon it of teaching and 
publication. To check this rational freedom " is 
a sin against the very nature of man, the primary 
law of which consists in just the advance in ra- 
tional enlightenment.** 

In contrast with this realm of inner freedom 
stands that of civil and political action, the prin- 
ciple of which is obedience or subordination to 
constituted authority. Kant illustrates the na- 
ture of the two by the position of a military sub- 
ordinate who is given an order to execute which 
Ms reason tells him is unwise* His sole duty in 
the realm of practice is to obey to do his duty. 
But as a member not of the State but of the king- 
dom of science, he has the right of free inquiry 
and publication. Later he might write upon 
the campaign in which this event took place and 



THE TWO WORLDS $9 

point out, upon Intellectual grounds, the mistake 
involved in the order. No wonder that Kant pro- 
claims that the age of the enlightenment is the 
age of Frederick the Great. Yet we should do 
injustice to Kant if we inferred that he expected 
this dualism of spheres of action, with its twofold 
moral law of freedom and obedience, to endure 
forever. By the exercise of freedom of thought, 
and by its publication and the education which 
should make its results permeate the whole state, 
the habits of a nation will finally become elevated 
to rationality, and the spread of reason will make 
it possible for the government to treat men, not as 
cogs in a machine, but in accord with the dignity 
of rational creatures. 

Before leaving this theme, I must point out one 
aspect of the work of reason thus far passed over. 
Nature, the sensible world of space and time, is, 
as a knowable object, constituted by the legisla- 
tive work of reason, although constituted out of 
a Bon-ratlcmal sensible stuff. This determining 
work of reason forms not merely the Idealism of 
the Kantiaa philosophy but determin.es its em- 
phasis upon the & priori. The fractions of reason 
through which nature is rendered a know able ob- 



40 THE TWO WOELDS 

ject cannot be derived from experience, for they 
are necessary to the existence of experience. The 
details of this a priori apparatus lie far outside 
our present concern. Suffice it to say that as 
compared with some of his successors, Kant was 
an economical soul and got along with only two 
a priori forms and twelve a priori categories. The 
mental habitudes generated by attachment io a 
priori categories cannot however be entirely neg- 
lected in even such a cursory discussion as the 
present. 

If one were to follow the suggestion involved 
in the lately quoted passage as to the significant 
symbolism of the place of the accent in German 
speech, one might discourse upon the deep mean- 
ing of the Capitalization of Nouns in the written 
form of the German language, together with the 
richness of the language in abstract nouns. One 
might fancy that the dignity of the common noun 
substantive, expressing as it does the universal 
or generic, has bred an intellectual deference. 
One may fancy a whole nation of readers rever- 
ently bowing their heads at each successively cap- 
italized word. In such fashion one might arrive 
at a picture, not without its truth, of what it 



THE TWO WOELDS 41 

means to be devoted to a priori rational princi- 
ples. 

A number of times during the course of the 
world war I have heard someone remark that 
he would not so much rnind what the Germans 
did if it were not for the reasons assigned in its 
justification. But to rationalize such a tangled 
skein as human experience is a difficult task. If 
one is in possession of antecedent rational con- 
cepts which are legislative for experience, the task 
is much simplified. It only remains to subsume 
each empirical event under its proper category. 
If the outsider does not see the applicability of 
the concept to the event, it may be argued that 
his blindness shows his ineptness for truly uni- 
versal thinking. He is probably a crass empiric 
who thinks in terms of material consequences in- 
stead of upon the basis of antecedent informing 
principles of reason. 

Thus it has come about that no moral, social 
or political question is adequately discussed in Ger- 
many until the matter in hand has teen properly 
deduced from an exhaustive determination of its 
fundamental Begriff or Wesm. Or if the material 
is too obviously empirical to allow of such deduc- 



4 THE TWO WOBLDS 

tion, it most at least be placed under its appro- 
priate rational form. What a convenience, what 
a resource, nay, what a weapon is the Kaatian 
distinction of a priori rational form and a pos- 
teriori empirical matter. L&t the latter be as 
brutely diversified, as chaotic as you please, 
There always exists a form of unity under which 
it may be brought. If the empirical facts are 
recalcitrant, so much the worse for them. It only 
shows how empirical they are. To put them under 
a rational form is but to subdue their irrational 
opposition to reason, or to invade their lukewarm 
neutrality. Any violence done them Is more than 
indemnified by the favor of bringing them under 
the sway of a priori reason, the incarnation of 
the Absolute on earth. 

Yet there are certain disadvantages attached 
to a priori categories. They have a certain rigid- 
ity, appalling to those who have not learned to 
identify stiffness with force. Empirical matters 
are subject to revision. The strongest belief that 
claims the support of experience Is subject to 
modification when experience testifies against it. 
But an a priori conception Is not open to adverse 
evidence. There is no court having jurisdiction. 



THE TWO WORLDS 48 

If, then, an unfortunate mortal should happen to 
be Imposed upon so that he was led to regard a 
prejudice or predilection as an a priori truth, con- 
trary experience would have a tendency to make 
him the more obstinate in his belief. History 
proves what a dangerous thing it has been for 
men, when they try to impose their will upon 
other men, to think of themselves as special in- 
struments and organs of Deity. The danger is 
equally great when an a priori Reason is substi- 
tuted for a Divine Providence. Empirically 
grounded truths do not have a wide scope; they 
do not inspire such violent loyalty to themselves 
as ideas supposed to proceed directly from reason 
itself. But they are discussable; they have a 
humane and social quality, while truths of pure 
reason have a paradoxical way, in the end, of es- 
caping from the arbitrament of reasoning. They 
evade the logic of experience, only to become, in the 
phrase of a recent writer, the spoil of a " logic 
of fanaticism/* Weapons forged in the smithy 
of the Absolute become brutal and cruel when 
confronted by merely human resistance. 

The stiffly constrained character of an a priori 
Reason manifests itself in another way. A cate- 



44 THE TWO WORLDS 

gory of pure reason is suspiciously like a pigeon- 
hole. An American writer, speaking before the 
present war, remarked with witty exaggeration 
that " Germany is a monstrous set of pigeonholes, 
and every mother's son of a German is pigeoned in 
Ms respective hole tagged, labeled and ticketed. 
Germany is a huge human check-room, and the 
government carries the checks in its pocket." 
John Locke's deepest objection to the older form 
of the a priori philosophy, the doctrine of innate 
ideas, was the readiness with which such ideas 
become strongholds behind which authority shel- 
ters itself from questioning. And John Morley 
pointed out long ago the undoubted historic fact 
that the whole modern liberal social and political 
movement has allied itself with philosophic em- 
piricism. It is hard here, as everywhere, to disen- 
tangle cause and effect. But one can at least say 
with considerable assurance that a hierarchically 
ordered and subordered State will feel an affinity 
for a philosophy of fixed categories, while a flexible 
democratic society will, in its crude empiricism, 
exhibit loose ends. 

There is a story to the effect that the good 
townspeople of Kdnigsberg were accustomed to 



THE TWO WORLDS 45 

their watches by the time at which Kant passed 
upon his walks so uniform was he. Yielding to 
the Teutonic temptation to find an inner meaning 
in the outer event, one may wonder whether Ger- 
man thought has not since Kant's time set its 
intellectual and spiritual clocks by the Kantian 
standard: the separation of the inner and the 
outer, with its lesson of freedom and idealism in 
one realm, and of mechanism, efficiency and organ- 
ization in the other. A German professor of phi- 
losophy has said that while the Latins live in the 
present moment, the Germans live in the infinite 
and ineffable. His accusation (though I am not 
sure he meant it as such) is not completely justi- 
fied. But it does seem to be true that the Germans, 
more readily than other peoples, can withdraw 
themselves from the exigencies and contingencies 
of life into a region of Innerlichkdt which at least 
seems boundless ; and which can rarely be success- 
fully uttered save through music, and a frail and 
tender poetry, sometimes domestic, sometimes 
lyric, but always full of mysterious charm. But 
technical ideas, ideas about means and instru- 
ments, can readily be externalized because the 
outer world is in truth their abiding home. 



n 



GERMAN MORAL AND POLITICAL 
PHILOSOPHY 

IT is difficult to select sentences from Kant 
which are intelligible to those not trained in his 
vocabulary, unless the selection is accompanied by 
an almost word-by-word commentary. His writ- 
ings have proved an admirable terrain for the dis- 
play of German GriindlicJifeeit. But I venture 
upon the quotation of one sentence which may 
serve the purpose of at once recalling the main 
lesson of the previous lecture and famishing a 
transition to the theme of the present hour* 

** Even if an immeasurable gulf is fixed between 
the sensible realm of the concept of nature and 
the supersensible realm of the concept of freedom, 
so that it is not possible to go from the first to 
the second (at least by means of the theoretical 
use of reason) any more than if they were two 
separate worlds of which, the first could have no 
influence upon the second, yet the second is 
47 



48 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

meant to have an influence upon the first. The 
concept of freedom is meant to actualize in the 
world of sense the purpose proposed by its 
laws." . . . 

That is, the relation between the world of space 
and time where physical causality reigns and the 
moral world of freedom and duty is not a sym- 
metrical one. The former cannot Intrude into 
the latter. But it is the very nature of moral 
legislation that it is meant to influence the world 
of sense; its object is to realize the purposes of 
free rational action within the sense world. This 
fact fixes the chief features of Kant's philosophy 
of Morals and of the State. 

It is a claim of the admirers of Kant that he 
first brought to recognition the true and infinite 
nature of the principle of Personality. On one 
side, the individual is homo phenomenon a part 
of the scheme of nature, governed by its laws as 
much as any stone or plant. But in virtue of 
his citizenship in the kingdom of supersensible 
Laws and Ends, he is elevated to true universality. 
He is no longer a mere occurrence. He is a Per- 
son one in whom the purpose of Humanity is in- 
carnate. In English and American writings the 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 49 

terms subjective and subjectivism usually carry 
with them a disparaging 1 color. Quite otherwise 
is it in German literature. This sets the age of 
subjectivism, whose commencement, roughly speak- 
ing, coincides with the Influence of Kantian 
thought, In sharp opposition to the age of individ- 
ualism, as well as to a prior period of subordina- 
tion to external authority. Individualism means 
Isolation; it means external relations of human 
beings with one another and with the world; It 
looks at things quantitatively, In terms of wholes 
and parts. Subjectivism means recognition of the 
principle of free personality: the self as creative, 
occupied not with an external world which limits it 
from without, but, through its own self-conscious- 
ness, finding a world within Itself; and having 
found the universal within Itself, setting to work to 
recreate Itself In what had been the external world, 
and by Its own creative expansion In Industry, art 
and politics to transform what had been mere lim- 
iting material Into a work of Its own. Free as was 
Kant from the sentimental, the mystic and the 
romantic phases of this Subjectivism, we shall do 
well to bear It In mind in thinking of his ethical 
theory. Personality means that man as a rational 



50 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

being does not receive the end which forms the 
law of his action from without, whether from Na- 
ture, the State or from God, but from his own 
self. Morality is autonomous ; man, humanity, is 
an end in itself. Obedience to the self-imposed 
law will transform the sensible world (within 
which falls all social ties so far as they spring 
from natural instinct desire) into a form appro- 
priate to universal reason. Thus we may para- 
phrase the sentence quoted from Kant. 

The gospel of duty has an invigorating ring. 
It is easy to present it as the most noble and sub- 
lime of all moral doctrines. What is more worthy 
of humanity, what better marks the separation of 
man from brute, than the will to subordinate selfish 
desire and individual inclination to the commands 
of stern and lofty duty? And if the idea of com- 
mand (which inevitably goes with the notion of 
duty) carries a sinister suggestion of legal au- 
thority, pains and penalties and of subservience 
to an external authority who issues the commands, 
Kant seems to have provided a final corrective in 
insisting that duty is self-imposed. Moral com- 
mands are imposed by the higher, supranatural 
self upon the lower empirical self, by the rational 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 51 

self upon the self of passions and inclinations. 
German philosophy Is attached to antitheses and 
their reconciliation in a higher synthesis. The 
Kantian principle of Duty is a striking case of 
the reconciliation of the seemingly conflicting 
ideas of freedom and authority. 

Unfortunately, however, the balance cannot be 
maintained in practice. Kant*s faithful logic 
compels him to insist that the concept of duty is 
empty and formal. It tells men that to do their 
duty is their supreme law of action, but is silent 
as to what men's duties specifically are. Kant* 
moreover, insists, as he is in logic bound to do, 
that the motive which measures duty is wholly 
inner ; it is purely a matter of inner consciousness. 
To admit that consequences can be taken into ac- 
count in deciding what duty is in a particular case 
would be to make concessions to the empirical and 
sensible world which are fatal to the scheme. The 
combination of these two features of pure 
intemality and pure formalism leads, in a 
world where men's acts take place wholly in the 
external and empirical region, to serious conse- 
quences. 

The dangerous character of these consequences 



52 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

may perhaps be best gathered indirectly by means 
of a quotation. 

66 While the French people in savage revolt 
against spiritual and secular despotism had broken 
their chains and proclaimed their rights, another 
quite different revolution was working in Prussia 
the revolution of duty. The assertion of the 
rights of the individual leads ultimately to indi- 
vidual irresponsibility and to a repudiation of the 
State. Immanuel Kant, the founder of the critical 
philosophy, taught, in opposition to this view, the 
gospel of moral duty, and Scharnhorst grasped 
the idea of universal military service. By calling 
upon which individual to sacrifice property and 
life for the good of the community, he gave the 
clearest expression to the idea of the State, and 
created a sound basis on which the claims to indi- 
vidual rights might rest." * 

The sudden jump, by means of only a comma, 
from the gospel of moral duty to universal mili- 
tary service is much more logical than the shock 
which it gives to an American reader would indi- 
cate. I do not mean, of course, that Kant's 
teaching was the cause of Prussia's adoption of 
universal military service and of the thorough- 

* Bemhardi, " Germany and the Next War," pp. 63-64. 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 53 

going subordination of individual happiness and 
liberty of action to that capitalized entity, the 
State. But I do mean that when the practical 
political situation called for universal military 
service in order to support and expand the exist- 
ing state, the gospel of a Duty devoid of con- 
tent naturally lent itself to the consecration and 
idealization of such specific duties as the existing 
national order might prescribe. The sense of 
duty must gets its subject-matter somewhere, and 
unless subjectivism was to revert to anarchic or 
romantic individualism (which is hardly in the 
spirit of obedience to authoritative law) its appro- 
priate subject-matter lies in the commands of a 
superior. Concretely what the State commands 
is the congenial outer filling of a purely inner 
sense of duty. That the despotism of Frederick 
the Great and of the Hohenzollems who remained 
true to his policy was at least that hitherto un- 
known thing, an enlightened despotism, made the 
identification easier. Individuals have at all times, 
in epochs of stress, offered their supreme sacrifice 
to their country's good. In Germany this sacri- 
fice in times of peace as well as of war has been 
systematically reinforced by an inner mystic sense 



54 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

of a Duty elevating men to the plane of the uni- 
versal and eternal. 

In short, the sublime gospel of duty has its de- 
fects. Outside of the theological and the Kantian 
moral traditions, men have generally agreed that 
duties are relative to ends. Not the obligation, 
but some purpose, some good, which the fulfill- 
ment of duty realizes, is the principle of morals. 
The business of reason is to see that the end, the 
good, for which one acts is a reasonable one 
that is to say, as wide and as equitable in its 
working out as the situation permits. Morals 
which are based upon consideration of good and 
evil consequences not only allow, but imperiously 
demand the exercise of a discriminating intelli- 
gence. A gospel of duty separated from empirical 
purposes and results tends to gag intelligence. It 
substitutes for the work of reason displayed in 
a wide and distributed survey of consequences in 
order to determine where duty lies an inner con- 
sciousness, empty of content, which clothes with 
the form of rationality the demands of existing 
social authorities. A consciousness which is 
not based upon and checked by consideration of 
actual results upon human welfare is none 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 55 

the less socially Irresponsible because labeled 
Beason. 

Professor Eudken represents a type of idealistic 
philosophy which is hardly acceptable to strict 
Kantians. Yet only where the fundamental Kant- 
ian ideas were current would such ethical ideas as 
the following flourish: 

"When justice is considered as a mere means 
of securing man's welfare, and is treated accord- 
ingly whether it be the welfare of individuals or 
of society as a whole makes no essential difference 
it loses all its characteristic features. No 
longer can it compel us to see life from its own 
standpoint; no longer can it change the existing 
condition of things; no longer can It sway our 
hearts with the force of a primitive passion, and 
oppose to all consideration of consequences an 
irresistible spiritual compulsion. It degenerates 
rather into the complaisant servant of utility; it 
adopts herself to her demands, and in so doing 
suffers inward annihilation. It can maintain itself 
only when it comes as a unique revelation of the 
Spiritual Life within our human world, as a lofty 
Presence transcending all considerations of ex- 
pediency. 5 * * 

* Eueken, ** The Messing and V&Iise f LH/ 1 
ty Gibson, p 104* 



56 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

Such writing is capable of arousing emotional 
reverberations in the breasts of many persons. 
But they are emotions which, if given headway, 
smother intelligence, and undermine its responsi- 
bility for promoting the actual goods of life. If 
justice loses all its characteristic features when 
regarded as a means (the word "mere " inserted 
before " means " speaks volumes ) of the welfare 
of society as a whole, then there is no objective 
and responsible criterion for justice at alL A 
justice which, irrespective of the determination 
of social well-being, proclaims itself as an irre- 
sistible spiritual impulsion possessed! of the 
force of a primitive passion, is nothing but 
a primitive passion clothed with a spiritual title 
so that it is protected from having to render an 
account of itself. During an ordinary course of 
things, it passes for but an emotional indulgence ; 
in a time of stress and strain, it exhibits itself 
as surrender of intelligence to passion. 

The passage (from Bernhardi) quoted earlier 
puts the German principle of duty in opposition 
to the French principle of rights a favorite con- 
trast in German thought. Men like Jeremy Ben- 
tham also found the Revolutionary Rights of Man 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 57 

doctrinaire and conducing to tyranny rather than 
to freedom. These Rights were a priori, like Duty, 
being derived from the supposed nature or essence 
of man, instead of being adopted as empirical ex- 
pedients to further progress and happiness. But 
the conception of duty is one-sided, expressing 
command on one side and obedience on the other, 
while rights are at least reciprocal. Rights are 
social and sociable in accord with the spirit of 
French philosophy. Put in a less abstract form 
than the revolutionary theory stated them, they 
are things to be discussed and measured. They 
admit of more and less, of compromise and ad- 
justment. So also does the characteristic moral 
contribution of English thought intelligent self- 
interest. This is hardly an ultimate idea. But 
at least it evokes a picture of merchants bargain- 
ing, while the categorical imperative calls up the 
drill sergeant. Trafficking ethics, in which each 
gives up something which he wants to get some- 
thing which he wants more, is not the noblest kind 
of morals, but at least it is socially responsible 
as far as it goes. " Give so that it may be given 
to you in return " has at least some tendency to 
bring men together; it promotes agreement. It 



58 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

requires deliberation and discussion. This is 
just what the authoritative voice of a superior 
will not tolerate; it is the one unforgiveable 
sin. 

The morals of bargaining, exchange, the mutual 
satisfaction of wants may be outlived in some 
remote future, but up to the present they 
play an important part in life. To me there is 
something uncanny in the scorn which German 
ethics, in behalf of an unsullied moral idealism, 
pours upon a theory which takes cognizance of 
practical motives. In a highly esthetic people 
one might understand the display of contempt. 
But when an aggressive and commercial nation 
carries on commerce and war simply from 
the motive of obedience to duty> there is awakened 
an unpleasant suspicion of a suppressed " psychic 
complex." When Nietzsche says, " Man does not 
desire happiness ; only the Englishman does that,** 
we laugh at the fair hit. But persons who pro- 
fess no regard for happiness as a test of action 
have an unfortunate way of living up to their 
principle by making others tmhappy. I should 
entertain some suspicion of the complete sincerity 
of those who profess disregard for their own hap- 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 59 

piness, but I should be quite certain of their sin- 
cerity when It comes to a question of my hap- 
piness. 

Within the Kantian philosophy of morals there 
is an idea which conducts necessarily to a philoso- 
phy of society and the State. Leibniz was the 
great German source of the philosophy of the en- 
lightenment. Harmony was the dominant thought 
of this philosophy; the harmony of nature with 
itself and with intelligence ; the harmony of nature 
with the moral ends of humanity. Although Kant 
was a true son of the enlightenment, his doctrine of 
the radically dual nature of the legislation of Rea- 
son put an end to its complacent optimism. Ac- 
cording to Kant* morality is in no way a work of ' 
nature. It is the achievement of the self-conscious 
reason of man through conquest of nature. The 
ideal of a final harmony remains, but it is an ideal 
to be won through a battle with the natural forces 
of man. His breach with the enlightenment is 
nowhere as marked as in his denial that man is by 
nature good. On the contrary, man is by nature 
evil that is, his philosophical rendering of the 
doctrine of original sin. Not that the passions, 
appetites and senses are of themselves evil, but they 



60 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

tend to usurp the sovereignty of duty as the mo- 
tivating force of human action. Hence morality 
Is a ceaseless battle to transform all the natural 
desires of man into willing servants of the law 
and purpose of reason. 

Even the kindly and sociable instincts of man, 
in which so many have sought the basis of both 
morality and organized society, fall under Kant's 
condemnation. As natural desires, they aspire to 
an illegitimate control in man's motives. They are 
parts of human self-love: the unlawful tendency 
to make happiness the controlling purpose of ac- 
tion. The natural relations of man to man are 
those of an unsocial sociableness. On the one 
hand, men are forced together by natural ties. 
Only in social relations can individuals develop 
their capacities. But no sooner do they come 
together than disintegrating tendencies set in. 
Union with his fellows give a stimulus to vanity, 
avarice and gaining power over others traits 
which cannot show in themselves in individuals 
when they are isolated. This mutual antagonism 
is, however, more of a force in evolving man from 
savagery to civilization than are the kindly and 
sociable instincts. 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 61 

"Without these unlovely qualities which set 
man over against man in strife, individuals would 
have lived on in perfect harmony, contentment and 
mutual love, with all their distinctive abilities 
latent and undeveloped." 

In short, they would have remained in Rous- 
seau's paradise of a state of nature, and 

" perhaps Rousseau was right when he preferred 
the savage state to the state of civiEzation pro- 
vided we leave out of account the last stage to 
which our species is yet destined to rise.** 

But since the condition of civilization is but an 
intermediary between the natural state and the 
truly or rational moral condition to which Fian 
is to rise, Rousseau was wrong. 

" Thanks then be to nature for the unsociable- 
ness, the spiteful competition of vanity, the in- 
satiate desires for power and gain.** 

These quotations, selected from Kant's little 
essay on an " Idea for a Universal History/* are ' 
precious for understanding two of the most char- 
acteristic traits of subsequent German thought, 

the distinctions mad? tetween gopety u4 the 



62 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 
State and between Civilization and Culture, Much 
of the trouble which has been experienced in re- 
spect to the recent use of JTaZffir might have been 
allayed, by a knowledge that Kultwr has little in 
common with the English word "culture" save 
a likeness in sound. Kyltur is sharply antithetical 
to civilization in its meaning. Civilization is a 
natural and largely unconscious or involuntary 
growth. It is, so to speak, a by-product of the 
engendered when people live close together. 
It is external, in short. Culture, on the other, 
is deliberate and conscious. It is a fruit not of 
men's natural motives, but of natural motives 
which have been transformed by the inner spirit. 
Kant made the distinction when he said that Rous- 
seau was not so far wrong ia preferring savagery 
to civilization, since civilization meant simply 
social decencies and elegancies and outward pro- 
prieties, while morality, that is, the rule of the 
end of Reason, is necessary to culture. And the 
real significance of the term a culture " becomes 
more obvious when he adds that it involves the 
slow toil of education of the Inner Life, and that 
the attainment of culture on the part of an indi- 
vidual depends upon long effort by the com- 



MOBAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 6$ 

munity to which he belongs. It Is not primarily 
an Individual trait or possession, but a conquest of 
the community won through devotion to " duty." 
In recent German literature, Culture has been 
given even a more sharply technical distinc- 
tion from Civilization and one which emphasizes 
even more its collective and nationalistic char- 
acter. Civilization as external and uncontrolled 
by self-conscious purpose includes such things as 
language in Its more spontaneous colloquial ex- 
pression, trade, conventional manners or etiquette s 
and the police activities of government. Kutiur 
comprises language used for purposes of higher 
literature; commerce pursued not as means of 
enriching individuals but as a condition of the de- 
velopment of national life; art, phllosopliy (espe- 
cially in that untranslatable thing, the " Welt- 
Anschauung **) ; science, religion, and the activities 
of the state in the nurture and expansion of the 
other forms of national genius* that is, its activi- 
ties In education and the army. The legislation 
of Bismarck with reference to certain Boman 
Catholic orders Is nicknamed Kultur-kampf, for 
It was conceived as embodying a struggle between 
two radically different philosophies of life* the Ho- 



64 MGHAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

man, or Italian, and the true Germanic, not simply 
as a measure of political expediency. Thus it is 
that a trading and military post like Kiao-Chou 
is officially spoken of as a " monument of Teu- 
tonic Kultur The war now raging is conceived 
of as an outer manifestation of a great spiritual 
struggle^ in which what is really at stake is the 
supreme value of the Germanic attitude in phi- 
losophy s science and social questions generally s the 
a specifically German habits of feeling and think- 
ing." 

Very similar motives are at work in the dis- 
tinction between society and the State 5 which is 
almost a commonplace of German thought. In 
English and American writings the State is al- 
most always used to denote society in its more 
organized aspects, or it may be identified with 
government as a special agency operating for the 
collective interests of men in association. But in 
German literature society is a technical term and 
means something empirical and, so to speak, ex- 
ternal; while the State, if not avowedly something 
mystic and transcendental, is at least a moral 
entity, the creation of self-conscious reason operat- 
ing in behalf of the spiritual and ideal interests 



MOBAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 65 

of its members. Its function is cultural, educa- 
tive. Even when it intervenes in material interests* 
as it does in regulating lawsuits, poor laws, pro- 
tective tariffs, etc., etc., its action has ultimately 
an ethical significance : its purpose is the further- 
ing of an ideal community. The same thing is 
to be said of wars when they are really national 
wars, and not merely dynastic or accidental. 

Society is an expression of man*s egoistic na- 
ture; his natural seeking for personal advantage 
and profit. Its typical manifestation is in com- 
petitive economic struggle and in the struggle for 
honor and recognized social status. These have 
their proper place ; but with respect even to them 
it is the duty of the State to intervene so that 
the struggle may contribute to ideal ends which 
alone are universal. Hence the significance of 
the force or power of the State. Unlike other 
forms of force, it has a sort of sacred import, for 
it represents force consecrated to the assertion 
and expansion of final goods which are spiritual, 
moral, rational. These absolute ends can be 
maintained only in struggle against man's individ- 
ualistic ends. Conquest through conflict is the 
law of morals everywhere. 



66 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

In Kant we fine! only the beginnings of this 
political philosophy. He Is still held back by the 
individualism of the eighteenth century. Every- 
thing legal and political is conceived by him as 
external and hence outside the strictly moral realm 
of inner motivation. Yet he is not content to leave 
the State and its law as a wholly unmoral matter. 
The natural motives of man are, according to 
Kant (evidently following Hobbes), love of 
power s love of gain? love of glory. These motives 
are egoistic; they issue in strife in the war of 
all against alL While such a state of affairs does 
not and cannot invade the inner realm of duty, 
the realm of the moral motive* it evidently pre- 
sents a regime in which the conquest of the world 
of sense by the law of reason cannot be effected. 
Man in Ms rational or universal capacity must, 
' therefore* will an outward order of harmony in 
which it is at least possible for acts dictated by 
rational freedom to get a footing. Such an outer 
order is the State. Its province is not to promote 
moral freedom directly only the moral will can 
do that. But its business is to hinder the hin- 
drances to freedom: to establish a social condi- 
tion of outward order in which truly moral 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 67 

acts may gradually evolve a kingdom of human- 
ity. Thus while the State does not have a 
directly moral scope of action (since the coer- 
cion of motive Is a moral absurdity), it does 
have a moral basis and an ultimate moral func- 
tion. 

It is the law of reason, " holy and Inviolable/ 9 
which impels man to the institution of the State, 
not natural sociability* much less considerations of 
expediency* And so necessary is the State to hu- 
manity's realization of Its moral purpose that 
there can be no right of revolution. The over- 
throw and execution of the sovereign (Kant evi- 
dently had the French Revolution and Louis XVI 
In mind) is ftc an immortal and Inexpiable sin like 
the sin against the Holy Ghost spoken of by 
theologians, which can never be forgiven In this 
world or in the next/* 

Kant was enough of a child of the eighteenth 
century to be cosmopolitan, not nationalistic, in 
his feeling. Since humanity as a whole, In Its 
universality, alone truly corresponds to the uni- 
versality of reason, Be upheld the Ideal of an ulti- 
mate republican federation of states; he was one 
of the first to proclaim the possibility of endnr- 



68 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

ing peace among nations on the basis of such a 
federated union of mankind. 

The threatened domination of Europe bj Na- 
poleon following on the wars waged by republican 
France put an end, however, to cosmopolitanism. 
Since Germany was the greatest sufferer from 
these wars, and since it was obvious that the lack 
of national unity* the division of Germany into 
a multitude of petty states, was the great soorce of 
her weakness; since it was equally obvious that 
Prussia, the one strong and centralized power 
amoBg the German states, was the only thing 
which saved them all from national extinction, 
subsequent political philosophy in Germany res- 
cued the idea of the State from the^ somewhat 
ambiguous moral position in which Kant had left 
it. Since a state which is an absolute moral neces- 
sity and whose actions are nevertheless lacking in 
inherent moral quality is an anomaly, the doctrine 
almost calls for a theory which shall make the 
State the supreme moral entity. 

Fichte marks the beginning of the transforma- 
tion; and, in his writings, it is easy to detect a 
marked difference of attitude toward the national- 
istic state before and after 1806, when in the battle 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 69 

of Jena Germany went down to inglorious defeat, 
From the time of Fichte, the German philosophy 
of the State blends with its philosophy of his- 
tory, so that my reservation of the latter topic for 
the next section is somewhat arbitrary, and I shall 
not try rigidly to maintain the division of themes. 

I have already mentioned the fact that Kant 
relaxes the separation of the moral realm of free- 
dom from the sensuous realm of nature sufficiently 
to assert that the former is to influence the 

latter and finally to subjugate it. By means of 
the little crack thus introduced into nature^ Fichte 
rewrites the Kantian philosophy* The world of 
sense must be regarded from the very start as 
material which the free, rational, moral Ego has 
created in order to have material for its own ade- 
quate realization of will. Fichte had a longing 
for an absolute unity which did not afflict Kant, 
to whom, save for the concession just referred to, 
a complete separation of the two operations of 
legislative reason sufficed. Fichte was also an 
ardently soul, whose very temperament as- 

sured him of the subordination of theoretical 
knowledge to moral action. 

It would be as difficult to give, in short space, 



70 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 
an adequate sketch of Fichte's philosophy as of 
Kant's. To him, however, reason was the expres- 
sion of the wiD, not (as with Kant) the will an 
application of reason to action. " Im Anfang 
war die That" Is good Fichteanlsm. While 
Kant continued the usual significance of the term 
Reason (with only such modifications as the ra- 
tionalism of his century had made current), Fichte 
began the transformation which consummated in 
later German idealism. If the world of nature 
and of human relations is an expression of reason? 
then reason must be the sort of thing, and have 
the sort of attributes by means of which the world 
may be construed, no matter how far away this 
conception of reason takes us from the usual 
meaning of the term. To Fichte the formula 
which best described such aspects of the world and 
of life as he was interested in was effort at self- 
realization through struggle with difficulties and 
overcoming opposition. Hence his formula for 
'reason was a Will which, having a posited " itself, 
"posited" its antithesis in order, through 
further action subjugating this opposite, to con- 
quer its own freedom. 

The doctrine of the primacy of the Deed, and 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 71 

of the Duty to achieve freedom through moral self- 
assertion against obstacles (which, after all* are 
there only to further this self-assertion) was one 
which could, with more or less plausibility, be de- 
rived from Kant. More to our present point^ it 
was a doctrine which could be preached with noble 
moral fervor in connection with the difficulties and 
needs of a divided and conquered Germany. Fichte 
saw himself as the continuator of the work of 
Luther and Kant. His final a science of knowl- 
edge" brought the German people alone of the 
peoples of the world into the possession of the idea 
and ideal of absolute freedom. Hence the peculiar 
destiny of the German scholar and the German 
State. It was the doty and mission of German 
science and philosophy to contribute to the cause 
of the spiritual emancipation of humanity. Kant 
had already taught that the acts of men were to 
become gradually permeated by a spirit of ration- 
ality til there should be an equation of inner 
freedom of mind and outer freedom of action. 
Fichte's doctrine demanded an acceleration of the 
process. Men who have attained to -a conscious- 
ness of the absolute freedom and self -activity must 
necessarily desire to see around them similar free 



72 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

beings. The scholar who is truly a scholar not 
merely knows, but he knows the nature of knowl- 
edge its place and function as a manifestation 
of the Absolute. Hence he is, in a peculiar sense, 
the direct manifestation of God in the world the 
true priest. And his priestly function consists 
in bringing other men to recognize moral free- 
dom in its creative operation. Such is the 
dignity of education as conducted by those who 
have attained true philosophic insight. 

Fichte made a specific application of this idea 
to his own country and time. The humiliating 
condition of contemporary Germany was due to 
the prevalence of egoism, selfishness and particular- 
ism: to the fact that men had lowered themselves 
to the plane of sensuous life. The fall was the 
worse because the Germans, more than any other 
people, were by nature and history conscious of 
the ideal and spiritual principle, the principle of 
freedom, lying at the very basis of all things. The 
key to the political regeneration t of Germany 
was^to be.foizndLin a moral and spiritual regen- 
eration effected by means of education. " Hie 
key* amid political division* to political unity was 
to be sought in devotion to moral unity. In this 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 75 

spirit Piclite preached his u Addresses to the Ger- 
man Nation." In this spirit he collaborated In 
the foundation of the University of Berlin* and 
zealously promoted all the educational reforms in- 
troduced by Stein and Humboldt into Prussian 

The conception of the State as an essential * 
moral Being charged with an indispensable moral 
function lay close to these ideas. Education is 
the means of the advancement of humanity toward 
realization of its divine perfection. Education is 
the work of the State. The syllogism completes 
itself. But in order that the State may carry on 
its educational or moral mission it must not only 
possess organization and commensurate power, but 
it must also control the conditions which secure 
the possibility offered to the individuals composing^ 
it. To adopt Aristotle's phrase, men must 
before they can live nobly. The primary condi- 
tion of a secure life is that everyone be able to 
live by his own labor. Without this, moral self- 
determination is a mockery. '-The business of the 
State, outside of its educational mission, is con- 
cerned with property, and this business means in- 
suring property to everyone ms well as protecting 
Mm in what he already possesses^ Moreover, prop- 



74 MORAL AXD POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

erty Is not mere physical possession. It has a 
profound moral significance, for it means the sub- 
jugation of physical things to will. It is a neces- 
sary part of the realization of moral personality : 
the conquest of the non-ego by the ego. Since 
property does not mean mere appropriation, but is 
a right recognized and validated by society itself, 
property has a social basis and aim. It is an 
expression not of individual egotism bet of the uni- 
versal will. ( f Hence it is essential to the very idea 
of property and of the State that all the members 
of society have an equal opportunity for prop- 
erty, "; Hence it is the duty of the State to secure 
to its every member the right to work and the 
reward of his work. 

The outcome, as expressed in his essay on " The 
Closed Industrial State," is State Socialism, based 
on moral and idealistic grounds, not on economic 
considerations. /, In order that men may have a 
real opportunity to develop their moral person- 
alities, their right to labor and to adequate living, 
in return for their labor must be assured. This 
cannot happen in a competitive society. Industry 
must be completely regulated by the State if these 
indispensable rights to labor and resulting com- 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 75 

fort and security of life as means to moral voli- 
tion are to be achieved. But & state engaged in 
unrestricted foreign trade will leave its working- 
men at the mercy of foreign conditions. It must 
therefore regulate or even eliminate foreign com- 
merce so far as is necessary to secure its own citi- 

r*"" 
zens. > The ultimate goal is a universal state as 

wide as humanity, and a state In which each in- 
dividual will act freely, without state-secured 
rights and state-imposed obligations. ; But before 
this cosmopolitan and philosophically anarchic 
condition can be reached, we must pass through 
a period of the nationalistic closed state. Thus 
at the end a wide gulf separates Fichte from Kant. 
The moral individualism of the latter has become 
an ethical socialism. Only in and by means of a 
circle of egos or personalities does a human being 
attain the moral reason and freedom which Kant 
bestowed upon him as his birthright. Only 
through the educational activities of the State and 
its complete regulation of the industrial activities 
of Its members does the potential moral freedom of 
individuals become an established reality* 
, - If "I have devoted so mudb space to Fichte It 
is not because of Ms direct influence upon 



76 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

affairs or even upon thought. He did not found 
a schooL His system was at once too personal 
and too formal Nevertheless, he expressed Ideas 
which, removed from their special context in his 
system, were taken up into the thought of culti- 
vated Germany. Heine, speaking of the vogue of 
systems of thought, says with profound truth that 
44 nations have an instinctive presentiment of what 
they require to fulfill their mission. 15 

And Fichte's thought Infiltrated through many 
crevices. Rodbertus and Lasalle, the socialists, 
were, for example, profoundly affected by him. 
When the latter was prosecuted in a criminal suit 
for his u Programme of Workingmen," his reply 
was that his programme was a distinctively philo- 
sophic utterance* and hence protected by the con- 
stitutional provision for freedom of science and its 
teaching. And this is his philosophy of the 
State: 

\ "The State is the unity and cooperation of 
individuals in a moral whole. . . The ultimate 
and intrinsic end of the State is, therefore, to 
further the positive unfolding, the progressive de- 
velopment of human life. Its function is to work 
out the true end of man; that is to say, the full 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 77 

degree of culture of which human nature Is capa- 
ble." 



And he quotes with approval the words: 

a The concept of the State must be broadened 
so as to make the State the contrivance whereby 
all human virtue is to be realized to the fulL" 1 

^ 

And if he differs from Fichte, it is bet in the 
assertion that since the laboring class is the one 
to whom the need most directly appeals, it is work- 
ingmen who must take the lead in the development 
of the true functions of the State. 

Pantheism is a philosophic nickname which 
should be sparingly employed; so also should the 
term Monism, To caH Fichte^s system an ethical 
pantheism and monism is not to say much that is 
enlightening. But with free interpretation the 
designation may be highly significant in refer- 
ence to the spiritual temper of the Germany of 
the first part of the nineteenth century. For it 
gives a key to the presentiment of what Germany 
needed to fulfill its mission. 

It is a commonplace of German historians that 
its unity and expansion to a great slate powerful 



78 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

externally* prosperous internally, was wrought, 

unlike that of any other people, from within out- 
ward. In Lange's words, " our national develop- 
ment started from the most ideal and approxi- 
mated more and more to the real." Hegel and 
Heine agree that In Germany the French Revo- 
lution and the Napoleonic career were paralleled 
by a philosophic revolution and an intellectual 
empire. You recall the bitter word that, when 
Napoleon was finally conquered and Europe par- 
titioned, to Germany was assigned the kingdom of 
the clouds. But this aerial and tenuous kingdom 
became a mighty power, working with and in the 
statesmen of Prussia and the scholars of Germany 
to found a kingdom on the solid earth. Spiritual 
and ideal Germany made common cause with 
realistic and practical Prussia, As says Von 
Sjbel, the historian of the " Founding of the Ger- 
man Empire " : 

a Germany had been ruined through its own 
disintegration and had dragged Prussia with it 
into the abyss. It was well known that the wild 
fancies of the Conqueror hovered about the utter 
annihilation of Prussia ; if this should take place, 
then east as well as west of the Elbe, not only 



MOfiAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 79 

political independence, but every trace of a Ger- 
man spirit, the German language and customs, 
German art and learning everything would be 
wiped out by the foreigners. But this fatal 
danger was perceived just at the time when every- 
body had been looking up to Kant and Schiller, 
had been admiring' Faust, the world-embracing 
masterpiece of Goethe's, and had recognized that 
Alexander von Humboldt's cosmological studies 
and Niebulir*s " Roman History " had created 
a new era in European science and learning. In 
such intellectual attainments the Germans felt that 
they were far superior to the vanquisher of the 
world and his great nation; and so the political 
interests of Prussia and the salvation of the Ger- 
man nationality exactly coincided. Schleier- 
macher*s patriotic sermons, Pichte's stirring- ad- 
dresses to the German people, Htimboldt's glorious 
founding of the Berlin University, served to aug- 
ment the resisting power of Prussia, while 
Schamhorst's recruits and militia were devoted 
to the defense of German honor and German CES- 
toms. Everyone felt that German nationality 
was lost if Prussia did not come to its rescue, and 
that, too, there was no safety possible for Prussia 
unless all Germany was free. 

u What a remarkable providence it was that 
brought together, as in the Middle Ages, on this 
ancient colonial ground, a throng of the most 



80 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

energetic men from all districts of Germany. For 
neither Stein nor Ms follower, Hardenberg, nor 
the generals, Seharahorst, Bluecher and Gneisenau, 
nor the authors, Niebuhr, Fichte and K. F. 
Eichorn, nor many others who might be men- 
tioned, were born in Prussia; yet because their 
thoughts centered in Germany, they had become 
loyal Prussians. The name Germany had been 
blotted from the political map of Europe, but 
never had so many hearts thrilled at the thought 
of being German. 

u Thus on the most eastern frontier of German 
life, in the midst of troubles which seemed hope- 
less, the idea of German unity, which had lain 
dormant for centuries, now sprang up in a new 
birth. At first this idea was held exclusively by 
the great men of the times and remained the in- 
valuable possession of the cultivated classes ; but 
once started it spread far and wide among the 
younger generation, . . . But it was easier to de- 
feat the mighty Napoleon than to bend the Ger- 
man sentiments of dualism and individualism to 
the spirit of national unity/* 

What I have called the ethical pantheism and 
monistic idealism of Fichte (a type of philosophy 
reigning almost unchallenged in Germany till al- 
most the middle of the century) was an effective 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 81 

weapon in fighting and winning this more difficult 
battle. In his volume on the " Romantic School 
in Germany/* Brandes quotes from the diarj of 
Hoffman a passage written in 1809. 

** Seized bj a strange fancy at the ball on the 
6th, I imagine myself looking at my own Ego 
through a kaleidoscope. All the forms moving 
around me are Egos and annoy me by what they 
do and leave undone.' 5 

It is a temptation to find in this passage a 
symbol both of German philosophy and of the 
temper of Germany at the time. Its outer de- 
feats, its weakness in the world of action, had 
developed an exasperated introspection. This 
outer weakness^ coinciding* as Von Sybel points 
out, with the bloom of Germany in art, philosophy, 
history, philology and philosophy, made the Ego 
of Germany the noblest contemporary object of 
contemplation, yet one surrounded with other 
national Egos who offended by what they did 
and what they did not do. Patriotism, national 
feeling, national consciousness are common enough 
facts. But nowhere save in Germany, in the ear- 
lier nineteenth century, faaYe these sentiments and 



82 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

impulses been transformed by deliberate nurture 
into a mystic cult. This was the time when the 
idea of the Vottes-seele, the Volks-geist, was born ; 

and the idea lost no time In becoming a fact. Not 
merely poetry was affected by it, but philology, 
history and jurisprudence. The so-called historic 
school is its offspring. The science of social psy- 
chology derives from it at one remove. The soul, 
however,, needed a body ? and (quite in accord with 
German idealism) it formed a body for itself the 
German State as a unified Empire. 

While the idealistic period came first, it is im- 
portant to bear in mind the kind of idealism it 
was. At this point the pantheistic allusion be- 
comes significant. The idealism In question was 
not an idealism of another world but of fhu 
world, and especially of the State. The embodi- 
ment of the divine and absolute will and ideal is 
the existing world of nature and of men. Espe- 
cially is the human ego the authorized and cre- 
ative agent of absolute purpose. The significance 
of German philosophy was precisely to make 
men aware of their nature and destiny as the 
direct and active representatives of absolute and 
creative purpose. 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 83 

If I again quote Heine, it is because, with his 
contempt for technical philosophy, he had an inti- 
mate sense of its human meaning. Of German 
pantheistic idealism, he wrote in 1883 while It was 
still in its prime ; 

** God is identical with the world. . . . But he 
manifests himself most gloriously in man, who 
feels and thinks at the same time, who is capable 
of distinguishing his own individuality from ob- 
jective nature, whose intellect already bears 
within itself the ideas that present themselves to 
Mm in the phenomenal world. In Deity 

reaches self-consciousness, and this self-conscious- 
ness God again reveals through man. But this 
revelation does not take place in and through 
individual man, but in and through collective hu- 
manity . . . which comprehends and represents 
in idea and in reality the whole God-universe, . . . 
It is an error to suppose that this religion leads 
men to indifference. On the contrary, the con- 
sciousness of his divinity will inspire man with 
enthusiasm for its manifestation, and from this 
moment the really noble achievements of true hero- 
ism glorify the earth/* 

In one respect* Heine was a false prophet, He 
thought that this philosophy would in the 



84 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

accrue to the profit of the radical, the republican 
and revolutionary party in Germany. The his- 
tory of German liberalism is a complicated matter. 
Suffice it in general to say that the honey the 
libertarians hived was appropriated in the end by 
the party of authority. In Heine's assurance 
that these ideas would in due time issue in action 
he was profoundly right. His essay closes with 
burning words, from which I extract the fol- 
lowing : 

** It seems to me that a methodical people, such 
as we, must begin with the reformation? must then 
occupy ourselves with systems of philosophy, and 
only after their completion pass to the political 
revolution. . . . Then will appear Kantians, as 
little tolerant of piety in the world of deeds as 
in the world of ideas, who will mercilessly upturn 
with sword and axe the soil of our European life 
to extirpate the last remnants of the past. Then 
will come upon the scene armed Fichteans, whose 
fanaticism of will is to be restrained neither by 
fear nor self-interest, for they live in the spirit. 
. . . Most of aH to be feared would be the phi- 
losophers of nature,* were they actively to min- 

* He refers to the followers of Schellin& who as matter 
of fact had little Togue. But his words, may not unjustly 
be transferred to the naturalistic schools* which have since 
affected German thought. 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 85 

gle. . . . For if the hand of the Kantian strikes 
with strong unerring blow ; if the Pichtean cour- 
ageously defies every danger, since for him danger 
has in reality no existence; the Philosopher of 
Nature will be terrible in that he has allied him- 
self with the primitive powers of nature, in that 
he can conjure up the demoniac forces of old 
German pantheism; and having done so, aroused 
in Mm that ancient Germanic eagerness which 
combats for the joy of the combat itself, . , . 
Smile not at my counsel as at the counsel of a 
dreamer. . . . The thought precedes the deed as 
the lightning the thunder. . . . The hour will 
come. As on the steps of an amphitheater, the 
nations will group themselves around Germany to 
witness the terrible combat," 

In my preoccupation with Heine, I seem to have 
wandered somewhat from our immediate topic: the 
connection, of the idealistic philosophy with the 
development and organization of the national 
state of Germany. Bat the necessity of the or- 
ganized State to care for the moral interests of 
mankind was an inherent part of FIchte*s thought* 
At first* state was a matter of Indifference. 

In fact his sympathies were largely French 
republican. Before Jena* he writes: 



86 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

** What is the Ballon for a truly civilized Chris- 
tian European? IB a general way, Europe itself. 
More particularly at any time the State which is 
at the head of civilization. . . . With this cos- 
mopolitan sense, we can be tranquil before the 
vicissitudes and catastrophes of history.* 5 

In 1807 he writes: 

a The distinction between Prussia and the rest 
of Germany is external, arbitrary and fortuitous. 
The distinction between Germany and the rest of 
Europe is founded in nature.* 9 

The seeming gulf between the two ideas is easily 
bridged. The " Addresses on the Fundamental 

Features of the Present Age " had taught that the 

* 
end of humanity on t earth is the establishment 

of a kingdom in which all relations of humanity 
are determined with ^freedom or according to Rea- 
son according to Reason as conceived by the 
Fichtean formula. In l|is * 4 Addresses to the 
German Nation/ 9 in 1807-08, the unique mission 
of Germany in the establishment of this kingdom 
is urged as a motive for securing national unity 
and the overthrow of % the conqueror. The Ger- 
mans are the sole people who recognize the prin- 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 87 

eiples of spiritual freedom, of freedom won fay 
action in accord with reason. Faithfulness to this 
mission will ** elevate the German name to that of 
the most glorious among all the peoples^ making 
this Nation the regenerator and restorer of the 
world." He personifies their ancestors speaking 
to them* and saying : a We in our time 
saved Germany from the Roman World Empire. 55 
But "yours is the greater fortune. You 
may establish once for all the Kingdom of 
the Spirit and of Reason* bringing to naught 
corporeal might as the ruling thing in the world. 5 * 
And this antithesis of the Germanic and the 
Roman principles has become a commonplace in 
the German, imagination. Moreover, for Germany 
to win is no selfish gain. It is an advantage to all 
nations. "The great promise of a kingdom of 
right reason and truth on earth must not become a 
aln and empty phantom ; the present iron age is 
but a transition to a better estate." Hence the 
concluding words: ** There is no middle road: If 
you sink* so sinks humanity entire with you, with- 
out bope of future restoration/* 

The premises of the historic syllogism are plain. 
First, the German Luther who saYed for 



88 MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

the principle of spiritual freedom against Latin 
externalism ; then Kant and Fichte, who wrought 
out the principle into a final philosophy of science, 
morals and the State; as conclusion, the German 
nation organized in order to win the world to rec- 
ognition of the principle, and thereby to establish 
the rule of freedom and science in humanity as a 
whole. The Germans are patient; they have a 
long memory. Ideas produced when Germany was 
divided and broken were retained and cherished 
after it became a unified State of supreme military 
power, and one yielding to no other people in 
industrial and commercial prosperity. "In the 
grosser sense of the words, Germany has not held 
that might makes right. But it has been in- 
structed by a long line of philosophers that it is 
the business of ideal right to gather might to itself 
in order that it may cease to be merely ideal The 
State represents exactly this incarnation of ideal 
law and right in effective might. The military 
arm Is part of this moral embodiment. Let senti- 
mentalists sing the praises of an ideal to which 
no actual force corresponds. Prussian faith in 
the reality and enforcement among men of the 
ideal is of a more solid character. As past history 



MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 89 

Is the record of the gradual realization In the Ger- 
manic State of the divine idea, future history 
must uphold and expand what has been accom- 
plished. Diplomacy is the veiled display of law 
clothed with force in behalf of this realization, 
and war is its overt manifestation. That war 
demands self-sacrifice is but the more convincing 
proof of its profound morality. It is the final 
seal of devotion to the extension of the kingdom of 
the Absolute on earth. 

For the philosophy stands or falls with the con- 
ception of an Absolute. Whether a philosophy 
of absolutes is theoretically sound or unsound is 
none of my present concern. But that philosoph- 
ical absolutism may be practically as dangerous as 
matter of fact political absolutism history testi- 
fies. The situation puts in relief what finally is 
at issue between a theory which is pinned to a 
belief in an Absolute beyond history and behind 
experience, and one which is frankly experimental 
For any philosophy which is not consistently ex- 
perimental will always traffic in absolutes no 
matter in how disguised a form. In German po- 
litical philosophy 9 the traffic is Without mast- 



Ill 

THE GERMANIC PHILOSOPHY OF 
HISTORY 

THE unity of the German people longed for and 
dreamed of after 1807 became an established fact 
through the war of 1870 with France. It is easy 
to assign symbolic significance to this fact. Ever 
since the time of the French Revolution if not be- 
fore German thought has taken shape in conflict 
with ideas that were characteristically French and 
in sharp and conscious antithesis to them. Rous- 
seau's deification of Nature was the occasion for 
the development of the conception of Culture. 
His condemnation of science and art as socially 
corrupting and socially divisive worked across the 
Rhine to produce the notion that science and 
art are the forces which moralize and unify hu- 
manity. The cosmopolitanism of the French En- 
lightenment transformed, by German thinkers 
into a self-conscious assertion of nationalism. 
The abstract Rights of Man of the French Revo- 
fl 



92 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

lution were set in antithesis to the principle of 

the rights of the citizen secured to him solely by 
the power of the politically organized nation. The 
deliberate breach of the revolutionary philosophy 
with the past, the attempt (foreshadowed in the 
philosophy of Descartes) to make a tabula ram 
of the fortuitous assemblage of traditions and 
institutions which history offers, in order to sub- 
stitute a social structure built upon Reason, was 
envisaged as the fans et origo of all evil. That 
history is itself incarnate reason; that history is 
infinitely more rational than the formal abstract- 
ing and generalizing reason of individuals; that 
individual mind becomes rational only through the 
absorption and assimilation of the universal rea- 
son embodied in historic institutions and historic 
development, became the articles of faith of the 
German intellectual creed. It is hardly an exag- 
geration to say that for almost a century the 
characteristic philosophy of Germany has been a 
philosophy of history even when not such in ap- 
parent form. 

Yet the meaning of this appeal to history is lost 
unless we bear in mind that the Enlightenment 
after all transmitted to Germany, from medieval 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 5 

thought, its foundation principle. The appeal was 
not from reason to experience* but from analytic 
thought (henceforth condemned to be merely " Un- 
derstanding n cc Verstand") to an absolute and 
universal Reason (Vernunft) partially revealed In 
nature and more adequately manifested In human 
history as an organic process. Recourse to his- 
tory was required because not of any empirical 
lessons it has to teach, nor yet because history be- 
queathes to us stubborn institutions which must 
be reckoned with, but because history is the 
dynamic and evolving realization of immanent 
reason. The contrast of the German attitude with 
that of Edmund Burke is instructive. The latter 
had the same profound hostility to cutting loose 
from the past. But Ms objection was not that 
the past is an embodiment of transcendent reason, 
but that its institutions are an a inheritance ** be- 
queathed to us from the " collected wisdom " of 
our forefathers. The continuity of political life 
centers not about an inner evolving Idea 5 but 
abomt a onr hearths* our sepulchers and our al- 
tars,** He has the same suspicion of abstract 
rights of man. But his appeal is to experience 
and to practical consequences. Since a circnm- 



94 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

stances give In reality to every principle its dis- 
tinguishing color and discriminating effect/ 5 there 
is no soundness in any principle when " it stands 
stripped of every relation in ail the nakedness and 
solitude of metaphysical abstraction." 

According to the German view, the English pro- 
tested because of interference with empirically 
established rights and privileges ; the Germans* 
because they perceived in the Revolution a radical 
error as to the nature and work of reason. In 
point of fact, the Germans never made that break 
with tradition, political or religious, of which the 
French Revolution is an emphatic symbol. I have 
already referred to Kant's disposition to regard 
church dogmas (of which, as dogmas, he disap- 
proved) as vehicles of eternal spiritual truths 
husks to preserve an inner grain. All of the 
great German idealists gave further expression to 
this disposition. To Hegel, for example, the sub- 
stance of the doctrines of Protestant Christianity 
is identical with the truths of absolute philosophy* 
except that in religion they are expressed in a 
form not adequate to their meaning, the form, 
namely, of imaginative thought in which most men 
Eve* The disposition to philosophise Christianity 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 95 

is too widely shown In Germany to be dismissed 
as a cowardly desire at accommodation with things 
established. It shows rather an intellectual pietv 
among a people where freedom of thought and 
conscience had been achieved without a violent 
political upheaval. Hegel the char- 

acteristic weakness of Romance thought was an 
inner split, an inability to reconcile the spiritual 
and absolute essence of reality with which religion 
deals with the detailed work of intelligence in 
science and politics. The Germans, on the con- 
trary, " were predestined to be the bearers of the 
Christian principle and to carry out the Idea as 
the absolutely Rational end. 91 They accomplished 
this, not by a flight away from the secular world, 
but by realizing that the Christian principle is 
in itself that of the unity of the subjective and 
the objective, the spiritual and the worldly. The 
" spirit finds the goal of its struggle, its harmony, 
in that very sphere which it made the object of its 
resistance,- it finds that secular pursuits are a 
spiritual occupation " ; a discovery 9 surely* which 
unites simplicity with comprehensiveness one 
which does not lead to criticism of the secular pur- 
suits carried on. Whatever is to be said of this 



96 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTOBY 

as philosophy, it expresses, in a way, the quality 
of German life and thought. More than other 
countries* Germany has had the fortune to pre- 
serve as food for its imaginative life and as emo- 
tional sanction the great ideas of the past. It 
has carried over their reinforcement into the pur- 
suit of science and into politics into the very 
things which in other countries, notably in the 
Latin countries, have been used as weapons of 
attack upon tradition. 

Political development tells a somewhat similar 
tale. The painful transition from feudalism to 
the modern era was, for the most part, accom- 
plished recently in Germany, and accomplished 
under the guidance of established political au- 
thorities instead of by revolt against them. 
Under their supervision, and mainly at their ini- 
tiative, Germany has passed in less than a century 
to the regime of modern capitalistic competitive 
enterprise, moderated by the State, out of the do- 
minion of those local and guild restrictions which 
so long held economic activity in corporate bonds. 
The governing powers themselves secured to 
members of the State what seems, at least 
to Germans, to be a satisfying degree of po- 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 97 

litical freedom. Along with this absence of Internal 
disturbance and revolution, we must put the fact 
that every step in the development of Germany 
as a unified political power has been effected by 
war with some of the neighbors by which it is 
hemmed in. There stands the unfolding sequence : 
1815 (not to go back to Frederick the Great), 
1864 5 1866* 1870. And the significant thing 
these wars is not that external territory 
annexed as their consequence, but the rebound 
of external struggle upon the achieving of in- 
ternal unity. No wonder the German imagination 
has been impressed with the idea of an organic 
evolution from within, which takes the form of a 
unity achieved through conflict and the conquest 
of an opposing principle. 

Such scattering comments as these prove noth- 
ing. But they suggest why German thought has 
been peculiarly sensitive to the idea of historic 
continuity; why it has been prone to seek for 
an original implicit essence which has progressively 
unfolded itself in a single development. It w0uld 
take much more than an hour to give even a super- 
ficial account of the growth of the historical sci- 
ences and historic methods of Germany during 



98 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

the first half of the eighteenth century. It would 
involve an account of the creation of philology, 
and the philological methods which go by the 
name of higher criticism; of their extension to 
archeology; of the historic schools of jurispru- 
dence and political economy, as well as of the 
ways in which such men as Niebuhr, Mommsen 
and Ranke remade the methods of studying the 
past. I can only say here that Germany devel- 
oped such an effective historical technique that 
even mediocre men achieved respectable results; 
and, much more significantly, that when Taine 
made the remark (quoted earlier) that we owe to 
the Germany of the half century before 1880 all 
our distinctively modern ideas, his remarks apply 
above all to the disciplines concerned with the his- 
torical development of mankind. 

The bases of this philosophy are already before 
us. Even in Kant we find the idea of a single 
continuous development of humanity, as a progress 
from a reign of natural instinct to a final freedom 
won through adherence to the law of reason. 
Fichte sketched the stages already traversed on 
this road and located the point at which mankind 
now stands* In his later writings, the significance 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 9 

of history as the realization of the absolute pur- 
pose Is increasingly emphasized. History is the 
continuous life of a divine Ego by which it realizes 
in fact what it is in idea or destiny. Its 
are successive stages in the founding of the King- 
dom of God on earth. It it only is the revela- 
tion of the Absolute, Along with this growing 
deification of history is the increased significance 
attached to nationalism in and the Ger- 

man nation in particular. The State is the con- 
crete individual interposed between generic hu- 
manity and particular beings. In his words, the 
national folk is the channel of divine life as it 
poors into particular finite human beings. He 
says : 

" While cosmopolitanism is the dominant will 
that the purpose of the existence of humanity 
be actually realized in humanity, patriotism is 
the will that this end be first realized in the par- 
ticular nation to which we ourselves belong, and 
that this achievement spread over the entire 



Since the State is an organ of divinity,, patri- 
otism is religion. As the Germans .are the 



100 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

only truly religious people, they alone are truly 
capable of patriotism. Other peoples are products 
of external causes ; they have no self-formed Self, 
but only an acquired self due to general conven- 
tion. In Germany there is a self which is self- 
wrought and self-owned. The very fact that Ger- 
many for centuries has had no external unity 
proves that Its selfhood is metaphysical, not a 
gift of circumstance. This conception of the 
German mission has been combined with a kind 
of anthropological metaphysics which has become 
the rage in Germany. The Germans alone of all 
existing European nations are a pure race. They 
alone have preserved unalloyed the original divine 
deposit. Language is the expression of the na- 
tional soul, and only the Germans have kept their 
native speech in its purity. la like vein, Hegel 
attributes the inner disharmony characteristic of 
Romance peoples to the fact that they are of 
mixed Germanic and Latin blood. A purely arti- 
ficial cult of race has so flourished in Germany 
that many social movements like anti-Semitism 
and some of Germany's political ambitions can- 
not be understood apart from the mystic identi- 
fication of Kace, Culture and the State. In the 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 101 

light of actual science, this is so mythological that 
the remark of an American periodical that race 
means a number of people reading the same 
newspapers Is sober scientific fact compared 
with It.* 

At the beginning of history Flchte placed an 
" Urcolk. His account of it seems an attempt 
to rationalize at one stroke the legends of the 
Golden Age ? the Biblical account of before 

the Fall and Rousseau's primitive ** state of na- 
ture. 9 * The Urrolk lived in a paradise of Inao- 
cence, a paradise without knowledge^ labor or art. 

* Chamberlain, for example, holds that Jesus mast hare 

been of Teutonic birth a perfect logical conclusion from 
the received philosophy of the State and religion. Quite 
aware that there is much Slav Wood In northern Germany 

and Romance blood in southern Germany^ lie that 

while with other peoples crossing produces a rmee s 

the potency of the German blood Is such that cross-breeding 
strengtheos it. While at one time lie explains the historic 
strength of the Jew on the ground that lie kept his 
race pure, another place he allows his indignation at the 
Jews to lead Mm to include them the most mongrel 

of all peoples. To one thing lie remains consistent: By the 
very essence of race ? the Semites represent a metaphysical 
principle inherently hostile to the grand Germanic principle. 
It ptrliaps absurd to dignify the of this 

garrulous writer, but according to all report the volumes 
in which such expressions occur, a The Foundations of the 
Nineteenth Century/* has had august approval and much 
vogue. 



102 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

The philosophy which demands such a Folk is com- 
paratively simple* Except as a manifestation of 
Absolute Reason* humanity could not exist at all. 
Yet in the first stage of the manifestation. Reason 
could not have been appropriated by the self- 
conscious effort of man. It existed without con- 
sciousness of itself, for it was given, not, like all 
true self-consciousness, won by morally creative 
struggle. Rational in substance, in form It was 
but feeling or instinct. In a sense, all subsequent 
history is but a return to this primitive condition. 
But " humanity must make the journey on its own 
feet ; by its own strength it must bring itself back 
to that state in which it was once without its own 
cooperating labor. ... If humanity does not re- 
create its own true being, it has no real life." 
While philosophy compels us to assume a Normal 
People who, by " the mere fact of their existence, 
without science and art, found themselves in a 
state of perfectly developed reason, 5 * there is no 
ground for not admitting the existence at the same 
time of a timid and rude earth-born savages.** 
Thus the original state of humanity would have 
been one of the greatest possible inequality, being 
divided between the Normal Polk existing as a 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 103 

manifestation of Reason the wild savage 
races of barbarism. 

In his later period of inflamed patriotism this 
Innocuous speculation grew a sting. He de- 
termined that the present age the Europe of the 
Enlightenment and the French Revolution is the 
age of liberation from the external authority in 
which Reason had presented itself in the 
age. Hence it is inherently negative : ** an of 
absolute indifference toward the Truth, an age 
of entire and unrestrained licentiousness." But 
the further evolution of the Divine Idea demands 
a Folk which has retained the primitive principle 
of Reason, which may redeem^ therefore* the 
corrupt and rebellious modes of humanity else- 
where existing. Since the Germans are this 
saving remnant, they are the TJroolk^ the Nor- 
mal Nation, of the modem period. From this 
point on, idealization of past Germanic 
history and appeal to the nation to 
its unique caffing by victory over Napoleon 
blend. 

The Fichteam scaffolding tumbled, but 
ideas persisted. I doubt If it is to exag- 

gerate tie extent to wbich German history has 



104 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

been systematically idealized for the last hundred 
years. Technically speaking, the Romantic move- 
ment may have passed away and an age of scien- 
tific history dawned. Actually the detailed facts 
have been depicted by use of the palette of Ro- 
manticism. Space permits but one Illustration 
which would be but a literary curiosity were It 
not fairly typical. Tacitus called his account of 
the northern barbarians Germania an unfortu- 
nate title in view of later developments. The 
characteristics assigned by him to the German 
tribes are such as any anthropologist could dupli- 
cate from any warlike barbaric tribe. Yet over 
and over again these traits (which Tacitus Ideal- 
ized as Cooper, say. Idealized the North American 
Indian traits) are made the basis of the philo- 
sophic history of the German people. The Ger- 
mans, for example, had that psychological ex- 
perience now known as mana, manitou, tabu, etc. 
They identified their gods, in Tacitus* phrase, 
with, " that mystery which they perceive by ex- 
periencing sacred fear." This turns out to be 
the germinal deposit of splritual-mindedness which 
later showed itself in Luther and in the peculiar 
genius of the Germans for religious experience* 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 105 

The following words are from no less aa author- 
ity than Pflelderer: 

** Cannot we recognize In this point that truly 
German characteristic of which 

scorns to fix for sensuous perception the divine 
something which makes itself felt in the depths of 

the sensitive soul, which scorns to drag down the 
sublime mystery of the unknowable to the vulgar 
distinctness of earthly things? The fact that the 
Germans attached but little importance to reli- 
gious ceremonies accords with this view.** 

To others, this sense of mystery is a prophetic 
anticipation of the Kantian thing-in-itself. 

A similar treatment has been accorded to the 
personal and voluntary bond by which individuals 
attached themselves to a chieftain. Thus early 
was marked oat the fidelity or loyalty, Treuc, 
which is uniquely Germanic although some war- 
like tribes among our Indians carried the system 
still further. I can allow myself but one more 
example of the way in which the philosophic so- 
phistication of history has worked. No historian 
can be unconscious of the extent to which. Eu- 
ropean culture has genuinely European 
the extent to wMci it derives itself from a common 



106 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

heritage of the ancient world and the extent to 
which intermixtures and borrowings of culture 
have gone on ever since. As to Germany, how- 
ever$ these obvious facts have to be accommodated 
to the doctrine of an original racial deposit stead- 
ily evolving from within. 

The method is simple. As respects Germany, 
these cultural borrowings and crosses represent 
the intrinsic universality of its genius. Through 
this universality, the German spirit finds itself 
at home everywhere. Consequently, it consciously 
appropriates and assimilates what other peoples 
have produced by a kind of blind unconscious in- 
stinct. Thus it was German thought which re- 
vealed the truth of Hellenic culture, and rescued 
essential Christianity from its Roma-nized petri- 
faction. The principle of Reason which French 
enlightenment laid hold of only in its negative and 
destructive aspect, the German spirit grasped in 
its positive and constructive form. Shakespeare 
happened to be torn in England, but only the 
Germans have apprehended him in his spiritual 
universality so that he is now more his own than 
he is England's and so on. But with respect to 
other peoples, similar borrowings reveal only their 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTOEY 107 

lack of inner and essential selfhood. While 
is universal because he Is German, Shakespeare is 
universal because be is not English* 

I have intimated that Fichte's 
was limited. But his ideas of the State and 

of history were absorbed in the philosophy of 
Hegel, and Hegel for a considerable period abso- 
lutely dominated German thinking. To set forth 
the ground principles of his a absolute ** 

would be only to repeat what already 

said. Its chief difference, from Hegd's en- 

cyclopedic knowledge, his greater concrete his- 
toric interest and his more conservative tempera- 
ment, is his bottomless scorn for an Idea, an Ab- 
solute, which merely ought to be and which is only 
going to be realised after a period of time. " The 
Actual i* the Rational and the Rational is the 
Actual ** and the actual the actuating 

force and movement of things. It is customary to 
call him an Idealist. In of much 

terms* he is the greatest realist known to phi- 
losophy. He might be called a BrutalisL In the 
inquiry Bourdon carried 0m in 'Germany a 
years ago (published under the title of the u Ger- 
man **) he a with a 



108 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

German who deplores the tendency of the Germans 
to forsake the solid bone of things in behalf of 
a romantic shadow. As against this he appeals 
to the realistic sense of Hegel, who, " In opposi- 
tion to the idealism which had lifted Germany on 
wings, arrayed and marshaled the maxims of an 
unflinching realism. He had formulae for the justi- 
fication of facts whatever they might be. That 
which is 9 he would say, is reason realized. And 
what did he teach? That the hour has sounded 
for the third act in the drama of humanity, and 
that the German opportunity is not far off. . . . 
I could show you throughout the nineteenth cen- 
tury the torrent of political and social ideas which 
had their source here.*' 

I have said that the essential points of the 
Fichtean philosophy of history were taken up into 
the Hegelian system. This assimilation involved, 
however, a rectification of an inconsistency be- 
tween the earlier and the later moral theories of 
Fichte. In his earlier ethical writings, em- 
phasis fell upon conscious moral personality 
upon the deliberate identification by the individual 
will of its career and destiny with the purpose of 
tbe Absolute. In his later patriotic philosophy* 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTOEY 109 

he asserts that the organized nation Is the channel 
by which a finite ego acquires moral personality 
since the nation transmits to individuals the 

generic principle of God working in humanity. At 
the same time he to the resolute will 

consciously chosen self-sacrifice of Individuals to 
overthrow the enemy re-establish the Prussian 
state. When Hegel writes that victory has 
obtained, the war of Independence has suc- 

cessfully waged. The necessity of 
individual self-assertion given way to the need 
of subordinating the individual to the 
state in order to check the disintegrating tend- 
encies of liberalism. 

Haym has said that HegeFs u Philosophy of 
Law ** had for its task the exhibition as the per- 
fect work of Absolute Reason up to date of the 
** practical and political condition existing In 
Prussia In 1821," This was meant as a hostile 
attack. But Hegel himself have the 

last to object. With Ms scorn for an Ideal so 
impotent that its realization 
the effort of private selves, an Absolute s0 incon- 
sequential that it must wait upon the of 
future for manifestation, he in politics 



110 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

more than elsewhere to the conviction that the 
actual is the rational. " The task of philosophy 
is to comprehend that which is, for that which is, 
is Reason.** Alleged philosophies which try to 
tell what the State should be or even what a state 
ought in the future to come to be, are idle fan- 
tasies. Such attempts come too late. Human 
wisdom is like the bird of Minerva which takes its 
flight only at the close of day. 5 * * It comes, after 
the issue, to acknowledge what has happened. 
** The State is the rational in itself and for itself. 
Its substantial unity Is an absolute end in Itself. 
To it belongs supreme right in respect to individ- 
uals whose first duty is just to be members of 
the State," . . . The State " is the absolute real- 
ity and the individual himself has objective exist- 
ence, truth and morality only in his capacity as 
a member of the State.** It is a commonplace of 
idealistic theism that nature is a manifestation of 
God. But Hegel says that nature is only an ex- 
ternalized, unconscious and so incomplete expres- 
sion. The State has more, not less, objective real- 

*Marx said of the historic schools of politics, law and 

economics that to them, as Jehovah to Moses on Mt. Sinai, 
tta ctiYine showed but its posterior side. 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 111 

Ity than physical nature, for it Is a realization of 
Absolute spirit in the realm of consciousness. The 
doctrine presents an extreme form of the idea, not 
of the divine right of kings, but of the divine right 
of States. cc The inarch of God in history is the 
cause of the existence of stales; their foundation 
is the power of reason realiilng itself as will. 
Every state, whatever it be, participates in the 
divine essence. The State is not the work of 
human art; only Reason could produce it.** The 
State is God on earth. 

His depreciation of the individual as an indi- 
vidual appears in every theme of his Philosophy 
of Right and History, At first sight, Ms theory 
of great world heroes inconsistent with Ms 

disregard of individuals. While the . morality of 
most men consists simply in into their 

own habits the customs already found in the insti- 
tutions about them, great initiate new his- 
toric epochs. They derive * s their 
their calling not from the regular of 
things sanctioned by the order, but from 
a concealed fount, from that inner spirit 
beneath the surface, which, the 
world as a shell, bursts it to pieces." Hie 



112 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

are thus the exception which proves the rule. They 
are world characters; while they seem to be seek- 
ing personal interests they are really acting as 
organs of a universal will, of God in his further 
march. In his identification with the Absolute, 
the world-hero can have but one aim to which " he 
is devoted regardless of all else. Such men may 
even treat other great and sacred interests incon- 
siderately. . . . But so mighty a form must tram- 
ple down many an innocent flower crush to pieces 
many an object in its path.** We are not sur- 
prised to see that Alexander, Caesar and Napoleon 
are the characters he prefers to cite. One can only 
regret that he died before his contemplative piety 
could behold Bismarck. 

A large part of the intellectual machinery by 
which Hegel overcame the remnants of individ- 
ualism found in prior philosophy came from the 
idea of organic development which had been active 
in German, thought since the time of Herder. In 
his chief wort (" Ideas for a Philosophy of the 
History of Humanity"), written in the closing 
decades of the eighteenth century, Herder holds 
that history is a progressive education of human- 
ity. This idea, had from Lessing* is combined 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 113 

with the idea of Leibniz that change is evolution, 
by means of an Internal force, of powers originally 
Implicit in existence, and with the idea of Spiaoza 
of an all-comprehensive substance. This of 

organic growth was then applied to 
literature and institutions. It rein- 

forcement from the rising science of biology. 
Long before the days of Darwin or Spencer, the 
idea of evolution had a commonplace of Ger- 
man thought with respect fo everything concern- 
ing the history of humanity. The notion 
pet in sharp antithesis to the conception of ** mak- 
ing " or manufacturing institutions constitu- 
tions, which was treated as one of the fallacies of 
the French philosophy - of the Enlightenment. A 
combination of this notion of universal organic 
growth with the technique of prior may 

fairly be said to have determined Hegel's whole 
philosophy. While Leibniz and Herder had em- 
phasized the notion of harmony as an 
factor of the working of organic forces, Hegel 
took from Fichte the notion of a unity or syn- 
thesis arrived at by * s positing/* wad overcoming 
an opposite. Struggle for existence (or realiza- 
tion) was thus an ** organic " of German 



1U PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

thinking long before the teaching of Darwin, who, 
in fact, is usually treated by German writers as 
giving a rather superficial empirical expression 
to an idea which they had already grasped in its 
niersal speculative form. It is characteristic of 
the extent in which Hegel thought in terms of 
struggle and overcoming that after stating why 
it was as yet impossible to include the Americas 
in his philosophy of history, and after saying 
that in the future the burden of world history will 
reveal itself there* he surmises that it may take the 
form of a " contest " between North and South 
America. No philosopher has ever thought so 
consistently and so wholly in terms of strife and 
overcoming as Hegel. When he says the " world 
history is the world judgment M he means judg- 
ment in the sense of assize, and judgment as 
victory of one and defeat of another victory 
being the final proof that the world spirit has now 
passed from one nation to take up its residence in 
another. To be defeated in a way which causes 
the nation to take a secondary position among 
nations is a sign that divine judgment has been 
passed upon it. When a recent German writer 
argues that for Germany to surrender any terri- 



PHILOSOPHY OF 115 

tory which it has conquered during the present 
war would be sacrilegious, since It would be to 
refuse to acknowledge the workings of Goe! in 
human history, he quite in the Hegelian 

vein. 

Although the of 

very recent when Hegel wrote, practically 

contemporary with his own day, he writes in na- 
tionalistic terms the entire history of 
The State is the Individual of history ; it is to his- 
tory what a given is to biography. History 
gives us the progressive realization or evolution of 
the Absolute, moving from one National Individual 
to another. It is lav s the universal* which 
the Slate a State, for law is reason, not as 
subjective reflection, but in its as 
supreme over and in particulars. On this account, 
Hegel's statement thai the principle 
of history is the progressive realization of free- 
dom does not what an uninstmcted English 
reader would naturally it to 
is always understood in of Its ex- 
pression in history that Thought lias pro- 
gressively become conscious of itself; is, 
made itself Its own object* Freedom is the 



116 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

sciousness of freedom. Liberty of action has little 
to do with it. Obviously it is only in the German 
idealistic system particularly in the system of 
Hegel himself that this has fully taken place. 
Meantime, when citizens of a state (especially of 
the state in which this philosophic insight has been 
achieved) take the laws of their state as their own 
ends and motives of action, they attain the best 
possible substitute for a reason which is its own 
object. They appropriate as their own personal 
reason the objective and absolute Reason em- 
bodied perforce in law and custom. 

After this detour, we are led back to the fact 
that the Germans possess the greatest freedom yet 
attained by humanity 3 for the Prussian political 
organization most fully exemplifies Law, or the 
Universal, organizing under and within itself all 
particular arrangements of social and personal 
life. Some other peoples particularly the Latin 
have thought they could make constitutions, or 
at least that the form of their constitution was 
a matter of choice. But this is merely setting up 
the private conceit of individuals against the work 
of Absolute Reason, and thus marks the disin- 
tegration of a state rather than its existence. 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 117 

Other peoples have tried to found the government 
on the consent of the governed, unwitting of the 
fact that it is the government, the specific realiza- 
tion of Reason, which makes a state out of what 
is otherwise an anarchic mass of individuals. Other 
peoples have made a parliament or representative 
body the essential thing in government; in philo- 
sophic reality this is only a consultative body* 
having as its main function communication between 
classes (which are indispensable to an " organic ** 
state) and the real government. The chief func- 
tion of parliament is to give the opinion of the 
social classes an opportunity to feel it is being 
considered and to enable the real government to 
take advantage of whatever wisdom may chance to 
be expressed, Hegel seems quite prophetic when 
he says: "By virtue of this participation subjec- 
tive liberty and conceit, with their general opinion, 
can show themselves palpably efficacious and enjoy 
the satisfaction of feeling themselves to count for 
something.** Finally, the State becomes wholly 
and completely an organized Individual only in its 
external relations, its relations to other states. As 
Ms philosophy of history ignores the past in seiz- 
ing upon the national state as the unit and focus 



118 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

of history, so it ignores all future possibility of 
a genuinely international federation to which iso- 
lated nationalism shall be subordinated. Bern- 
hard! writes wholly in the Hegelian sense when he 
says that to expand the idea of the State into the 
idea of humanity is a Utopian error, for it would 
exclude the essential principle of life, struggle. 

Philosophical justification of war follows inevi- 
tably from a philosophy of history composed in 
nationalistic terms. History is the movement, the 
march of God on earth through time. Only one 
nation at a time can be the latest and hence the 
fullest realization of God. The movement of God 
in history is thus particularly manifest in those 
changes by which unique place passes from one 
nation to another. War is the signally visible 
occurrence of such a flight of the divine spirit in 
its onward movement. The idea that friendly in- 
tercourse among all the peoples of the earth is a 
legitimate aim of human effort is in basic con- 
tradiction of such, a philosophy. War is explicit 
realization of " dialectic/ 5 of the negation by 
which a higher synthesis of reason is assured. It 
effectively displays the " irony of the divine Idea.* 9 
It is to national life what the winds are to the sea, 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 119 

^ preserving mankind from the corruption en- 
gendered by immobility. 55 War is the most ef- 
fective preacher of the vanity of all merely finite 
interests ; it puts an end to that selfish egoism of 
the individual by which he would claim his life and 
his property as his own or as his family 5 s. Inter- 
national law is not properly law; it expresses 
simply certain usages which are accepted so long 
as they do not come Into conflict with the purpose 
of a state a purpose which always gives the 
supreme law of national life. Particularly against 
the absolute right of the a present bearer of the 
world spirit, the spirits of the other nations are 
absolutely without right. The latter, just like 
the nations whose epochs have passed, count no 
longer in universal history. 5 * Since they are al- 
ready passed over from the standpoint of the 
divine idea, war can. do no more than exhibit the 
fact that their day has come and gone. World 
history is the world's judgment seat. 

For a period Hegelian thought was almost su- 
preme in Germany. Then its rule passed away 
almost as rapidly as it had been achieved. After 
various shiftings, the trend of philosophic thought 
definitely * JJack to Kant," Kant's 



120 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

sobriety, the sharp distinction he drew between 
the realm of phenomena and science and the 
ideal noumenal world* commended him after the 
unbridled pretensions of Hegelian absolutism. 
For more than a generation Hegel was spoken of 
with almost universal contempt. Nevertheless his 
ideas, loosed from the technical apparatus with 
which he surrounded them, persisted. Upon the 
historical disciplines his influence was peculiarly 
deep and abiding. He fixed the ideas of Fichte 
and fastened them together with the pin of evolu- 
tion. Since his day, histories of philosophy, or 
religion, or institutions have all been treated as 
developments through necessary stages of an inner 
implicit idea or purpose according to an indwelling 
law. And the idea of a peculiar mission and 
destiny of German history has lost nothing in the 
operation. Expressions which a bewildered world 
has sought since the beginning of the war to ex- 
plain through the influence of a Darwinian strug- 
gle for existence and survival of the fittest, or 
through the influence of a Nietzschean philosophy 
of power, have their roots in the classic idealistic 
philosophy culminating in Hegel. 

Kant still remains the philosopher of Germany. 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 121 

The division of life between the world of sense and 
of mechanism and the world of the supersensible 
and purpose, the world of necessity and the world 
of freedom, is more congenial than a complete 
monism. The attempts of his successors to bridge 
the gap and set up a wholly unified philosophy 
failed, historically speaking. But, nevertheless, 
they contributed an indispensable ingredient to 
the contemporary German spirit; they helped 
people the Kantian void of the supersensible with 
the substantial figures of the State and its His- 
torical Evolution and Mission. Kant bequeathed 
to the world an intellect devoted to the congenial 
task of discovering causal law in external nature, 
and an inner intuition which, in spite of its sublim- 
ity, had nothing to look at except the bare form 
of an empty law of duty. Kant was kept busy in 
proving the existence of this supernal but empty 
region. Consequently he was not troubled by 
being obliged to engage in the unremunerative task 
of spending his time gazing into a blank void. His 
successors were not so fortunate. The existence 
of this ideal realm in which reason, purpose and 
freedom are one was axiomatic to them ; they could 
no longer busy themselves with proving its exist- 



122 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

ence Same of them, called the Romanticists, filled 
it with visions, more or less poetic, which frankly 
drew their substance from an imagination inflamed 
by emotional aspiration in revolt at the limita- 
tions of outward action. Others, called the ideal- 
istic philosophers, filled in the void, dark because 
of excess of light, with less ghostly forms of Law 
and the unfolding in History of Absolute Value 
and Purpose. The two worlds of Kant were too 
far away from each other. The later idealistic 
world constructions crumbled; but their debris 
supplied material with which to fill in the middle 
regions between the Kantian worlds of sense and 
of reason. This, I repeat, is their lasting con- 
tribution to present German culture. Where 
Kantianism has not received a filling in from 
the philosophy of history and the State, it 
has remained in Germany, as elsewhere, a 
critique of the methodology of science; its 
importance has been professional rather than 
human. 

In the first lecture we set out with the sug- 
gestion of an inquiry into the influence of general 

ideas upon' practical affairs, upon those larger 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTOEY 183 

practical affairs called politics. We appear to 
have concluded with a conviction that (in the 
instance before us at least) politics has rather 
been the controlling factor in the formation of 
philosophic ideas and in deciding their vogue, 
Yet we are well within limits when we say that 
ideas which were evoked in correspondence with 
concrete social conditions served to articulate and 
consolidate the latter* Even if we went so far as 
to say that reigning philosophies simply reflect as 
in a mirror contemporary social struggles, we 
should have to add "that seeing one's self in a 
mirror is a definite practical aid in carrying on 
one's undertaking to its completion. 

When what a people sees in its intellectual 
looking glass is its own organization and its own 
historic evolution as an organic instrument of the 
accomplishment of an Absolute Will and Law, the 
articulating and consolidating efficacy of the re- 
flection is immensely intensified. Outside of Ger- 
many, the career of the German idealistic phi- 
logophy lias been mainly professional and literary. 
It has exercised considerable influence upon the 
teaching of philosophy in France, England and 
tMs country. Beyond professorial circles, its in- 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

fluence has been considerable In theological direc- 
tions. Without doubt, it has modulated for many 
persons the transition from a supernatural to a 
spiritual religion ; it has enabled them to give up 
historical and miraculous elements as indifferent 
accretions and to retain the moral substance and 
emotional values of Christianity. But the Ger- 
mans are quite right in feeling that only in Ger- 
many is this form of idealistic thinking both in- 
digenous and widely applied. 

A crisis lite 'the present forces upon thoughtful 
persons a consideration of the value for the gen- , 
eral aims of civilization of a philosophy of the 
a priori, the Absolute, and of their immanent evo- 
lution through the medium of an experience which 
as just experience is only a superficial and 
negligible vehicle of transcendent Laws and 
Ends. It forces a consideration of what type of 
general ideas is available for the articulation and 
guidance of our own life in case we find ourselves 
looking upon the present world scene as an 
a priori and an absolutistic philosophy gone into 
bankruptcy. 

In Europe, speaking generally f " Americanism " 
is a synonym for crude empiricism and a ma- 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 125 

terialistic utilitarianism. It is no part of my pres- 
ent task to try to show how largely this accusation 
is due to misunderstanding. It is simpler to 
inquire how far the charge points to the problem 
which American life, and therefore philosophy in 
America, must meet. It is difficult to see how any 
a priori philosophy, or any systematic absolut- 
ism, is to get a footing among us 9 at least beyond 
narrow and professorial circles. Psychologists 
talk about learning by the method of trial and 
error or success. Our social organization com- 
mits us to this philosophy of life. Our working 
principle is to try : to find out by trying, and to 
measure the worth of the ideas and theories tried 
by the success with which they meet the test of 
application in practice. Concrete consequences 
rather than a priori rules supply our guiding prin- 
ciples. Hegel found it ** superficial and absurd to 
regard as objects of choice " social constitutions ; 
to him ** they were necessary structures in the 
path of development.*' To us they are the cumu- 
lative result of a multitude of daily and ever- 
renewed choices. 

That such an experimental philosophy of life 
means a dangerous experiment goes without say- 



226 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

ing. It permits, sooner or later it may require, 
every alleged sacrosanct principle to submit to 
ordeal by fire to trial by service rendered. From 
the standpoint of a pnorum* it is hopelessly 
anarchic ; it is doomed, a priori* to failure. From 
its own standpoint, it is itself a theory to be tested 
by experience. Now experiments are of all kinds, 
varying from those generated by blind impulse and 
appetite to those guided by intelligently formed 
ideas. They are as diverse as the attempt of a 
savage to get .rain by sprinkling water ad scat- 
tering thistledown, and that control of electricity 
in the laboratory from which issue wireless teleg- 
raphy and rapid traction. Is it not likely that in 
this distinction we have the key to the failure or 
success of the experimental method generalized 
into a philosophy of life, that is to say, of social 
matters the only application which procures 
complete generalization? 

An experimental philosophy differs from em- 
pirical philosophy as empiricism has been previ- 
ously formulated. Historical empiricisms have 
teen stated in terms of precedents ; their general- 
isations have been summaries of what lias previ- 
ously happened. The truth and faMty of these 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 127 

generalizations depended then upon the accuracy 
with which they catalogued, under appropriate 
heads, a multiplicity of past occurrences. They 
were perforce lacking in directive power except so 
far as the future might be a routine repetition of 
the past. In an experimental philosophy of life, 
the question of the past, of precedents* of origins, 
is quite subordinate to prevision, to guidance and 
control amid future possibilities. Consequences 
rather than antecedents measure the worth of 
theories. Any scheme or project may have a fair 
hearing provided it promise amelioration in the 
future; and no theory or standard is so sacred 
that it may be accepted simply on the basis 0f 
past perf ormance. 

But this difference between a radically experi- 
mental philosophy and an empiristic philosophy 
only emphasizes the demand for careful and 'com- 
prehensive reflection with respect to the ideas 
which are to be tested in practice. If an a priori 
philosophy has worled at al m Germany it is be- 
cause it has been based OB an a priori social con- 
stitution that is to say, on a state whose orgaii- 
izatioe is such as to determine in advance the main 
activities of classes of individuals, and to utilize 



128 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

their particular activities by linking them iip with 
one another in definite ways. It is a commonplace 
to say that Germany is a monument to what can 
be done by means of conscious method and organ- 
ization. An experimental philosophy of life in 
order to succeed must not set less store upon 
methodic and organized intelligence, but more. 
We must learn from Germany what methodic and 
organized work means. But instead of confining 
intelligence to the technical means of realizing 
ends which are predetermined by the State (or by 
something called the historic Evolution of the 
Idea), intelligence must, with us, devote itself as 
well to construction of the ends to be acted upon. 
The method of trial and error or success is 
likely, if not directed by a trained and informed 
imagination, to score an undue proportion, of fail- 
ures. There is no possibility of disguising the 
fact that an experimental philosophy of life means 
a hit-and-miss philosophy in the end. But it 
means missing rather than hitting, if the aiming 
is done in a happy-go-lucky way instead of by 
bringing to bear all the resources of inquiry upon 
locating 1 the target, constructing propulsive ma- 
chinery aad figuring out the curve of trajectory. 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 229 

That this work is, after all, but hypothetical and 
tentative till it issue from thought into action 
does not mean that it might as well be random 
guesswork; it means that we can do still better 
next time if we are sufficiently attentive to the 
causes of success and failure this time. 

America is too new to afford a foundation for 
an a priori philosophy; we have not the requisite 
background of law, institutions and achieved social 
organization. America is too new to render con- 
genial to our imagination an evolutionary phi- 
losophy of the German type. For our history is 
too obviously future. Our country is too big 
and too unformed, however, to enable us to trust 
to an empirical philosophy of muddling along, 
patching up here and there some old piece 
of machinery which has broken down by reason 
of its antiquity. We must have system, con- 
structive method, springing from a widely in- 
ventive imagination, a method checked up at each 
turn by results achieved. We have said long 
enough that America means opportunity ; we must 
BOW begin to ask : Opportunity for what, and how 
shall the opportunity be achieved? I can but think 
that the present European situation forces home 



ISO PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

upon us the need for constructive planning. I 
can but think that while it gives no reason for 
supposing that creative power attaches ex o-fficio 
to general ideas, it does encourage us to believe 
that a philosophy which should articulate and con- 
solidate the ideas to which our social practice com- 
mits us would clarify and guide our future en- 
deavor. 

Time permits of but one illustration. The pres- 
ent situation presents the spectacle of the break- 
down of the whole philosophy of Nationalism, 
political, racial and cultural It is by the acci- 
dent of position rather than any virtue of our 
own that we are not sharers in the present demon- 
stration of failure. We have borrowed the older 
philosophy of isolated national sovereignty and 
have lived upon it in a more or less half-hearted 
way. In our internal constitution we are actu- 
ally interracial and international. It remains to 
see whether we have the courage to face this fact 
and the wisdom to think out the plan of action 
which it indicates. Arbitration treaties, interna- 
tional judicial councils, schemes of international 
disarmament, peace funds and peacse movements, 
are aH wel in their way. But the ^taxation calk for 



PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 1*1 

more radical thinking than that which terminates 
in such proposals. We have to recognize that 
furtherance of the depth and width of human in- 
tercourse is the measure of civilisation; mud we 
have to apply this fact without as well as within 
our national life. We must make the accident 
of our internal composition into an idea s an 
idea upon which we may conduct our foreign as 
well as our domestic policy. An international 
judicial tribunal will break in. the end upon the 
principle of national sovereignty. 

We have no right to cast stones at any warring 
nation till we have asked ourselves whether we are 
willing to forego this principle and to submit af- 
fairs which limited imagination and sense have led 
us to consider strictly national to an international 
legislature. In and of itself, the idea of peace is 
a negative idea; it is a police idea. There are 
things more important than keeping one's body 
whole and one's property intact. Disturbing the 
peace is bad, not because peace is disturbed, but 
because the fruitful processes of cooperation in 
the great experiment of living together are dis- 
turbed. It is futile to work for the negative aid 
of peace unless we are committed to the positive 



1*2 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

Ideal which It cloaks: Promoting the efficacy of 
human intercourse irrespective of class, racial, 
geographical and national limits. Any philosophy 
which should penetrate and participate our present 
social practice would find at work the forces which 
unify human intercourse. An intelligent and 
courageous philosophy of practice would devise 
means by which the operation of these forces 
would be extended and assured in the future. 
An American philosophy of history must perforce 
be a philosophy for its future, a future in which 
freedom and fullness of human companionship is 
the aim, and intelligent cooperative experimenta- 
tion the method. 



THE END 



INDEX 



Absolutism, 89, 112, 115, 124 
America, philosophy in, 123- 
132 

"Americanism," 124 
Anti-Semitism, 100-101. 
A priori, 39-44, 126, 129 
Authority, 52-54 

Benftam, 56 

Bergsor, 4 

BernMrdi, 34-35, 52, 118 

Bourdon, 107408 

Burke, 93-94 

Chamberlain, 101 n. 
Cosmopolitanism, 67, 75, 85, 

m 

Culture, 91 

Descartes, 92 
Despotism enlightened, 53 
Dialectic, 70, 118 
Duty, 24, 50-57 

Education, 14, 72, 73 
Empiricism, 41, 43, 126-129 
Enlightenment, the, 37-39, 50, 

92, 103 

Eucken, 36, 55 
Evolution, 112 



e, 68-80, $5-87 
formalism* 51 
Freedom, 18, 25, 30, 33-35, 47, 

51, 71, 115. 

French Eerolutioa, 57, 94, 103 
French ifoffu^it, S2, 91-04, 95, 

100 



Germania, 104 

Germany, 14-16, 28, 29-31, 32- 

33, 36, 71, 78-81, 84-85, 88, 

91-93, 94-98, 106-107 

Haym, 107 

Hegel, 94-95, 107-120, 125 

Heine, 17, 18, 76, 83, 84-85 

Herder, 112 

History, 5-6, 59-67, 98-102, 

107-119, 121 
Hoffman, 81 

Idealism, 28, 39, 70, 82, 107, 
123, 130 

Ideas and action, 3-15, 123- 

132 

IndiTiduallsm, 49, 72 
Intelligence, 54-56, 126-128 

Jena, 68 

Kant, 19-40, 47-58, 59-67, 119- 

121 
Kultor, 62-64 

Lange, 78 
Lasalle, 77 

Law, 20-25, 116 

Leibniz, 59, 112 
Luther, 16, 27, 71, 87 

Marx, 6, 110 n. 
Mlttarism, 52 

Kapoleon, 67, 78-79 
Nationalism, 67, 81, 86, 87, 
115 

Metzaehe, 28, 34, 58 



1SS 



134 INDEX 



77, 82 Society, 64-65 

, 117 State, 64-65, 66-157, 73-77, 110- 

Personality, 48 118 

Pfieiderer, 105 Subjectivism, 4&, 81 

Philosophy, 7-18, 123-102 Supersensible, 23-25 

Property, 74 v. Sybel, 78-80 
Psychology, Social, 82 

Tacitus, 104 

Race, 100-101 Tame, 14 
Religion, 20-21, 26-27, 05 

Rights, 52, 57 IMversalism of Germany, 36, 

Romanticism, 81, 104, 122 106-107 

Rousseau, 61, 91 Urvolb, 101-102 

UtilitariaBifm, 57-5S 
Schelling, 82 n. 

Scholar, 72 Folfc-seele, 82 
Science, 21-23, 28 

Socialism, 74-75 War, 35-36, 89, 97^ 118-12H 

Social motiTCE, 60-61 WorM-lieroem, 112 



BOOKS ON SOCIAL SCIENCE 
m THE HOME UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 

Admirably dear.** New York 

THE* SOCIAJUIST MOVE- 
MENT 

By I. RAM SAT MACDONAU> Chair- 
man of the British Labor Part}?. 
"The latest authoritative exposi- 
tion of Socialism.** San rrflw- 



TMB NBCHELO 

By W. E, BURGHAUT DuBois, 
author of Souls &f Black Folks, 

etc. A history of the black man 
In Africa, America or wherever 
else his presence has been or is 
important. 

CO -PAB.TNEHSHIP A H D 

PROFIT SHAMNG 
By ANEUWN WILLIAMS. Ex- 
plains the various types ^ of co- 
partnership or profit-sharing; or 
Doth, and gives details 01 the 
arrangements now in force in 
many of the great industries. 

POIJTKCAL THOUOBLTs 
From Herbert Sjpemeei* 
to- 4fce Present Bay 
By ESHEST BARKER, M.A., Ox- 
ford. 

UHEMPIiOTMElfT 
By A. C. PIGOU, M.A., Professor 
of Political Economy at Cam- 



bridge. The meaning, measure- 
ment, distribution, and effects of 
unemployment, its relation to 
wages, trade fluctuations, and 
disputes, and some proposals of 
remedy or relief. 

COMMON-SENSE IN I*AW 
By PB.OF. PAUX. VnrocxADon'. 
D.C.L., LL.D. Social and Legal 
Stales Legal Rights and Duties 
Facts and Acts in Law Leg- 
islation CustomJudicial Pre- 
cedents Equity The Law of 
Nature, 

ELKKENTS OF 1 POUnCAJj 

ECONOMY 

By S. J. CHAPMAN, Professor of 
Political Economy and Bean of 
Faculty of Commerce and Ad- 
ministration, University of Man- 
chester. A clear statement of 
the theory of the subject for 
non-expert readers. 

J7KK SCIENCE OF WKA&TH 
By J. A, HOKSOK, author of 
Problems of Poverty. A study 
of the structure and working* of 
the modern business world. 

JPAJfcMAlIEIfT. Its Hlfftoxr, 
Corns titMtioa, amd 
Practice 

By SIK COURTBHAY P. luaxt t 
Oerk of the House of Commons. 
**ia be praised without reserve. 

ClotE bouxtdy good paper, clear type, 256 pages 

fWHr volume bsbHocrsiphles. indices, also maps 

or illustrations where needed. Each complete 

and sold separately. 



cisco Argommt. 

UtBEBJULISM 
By PROF. L. T. HOBHOUSB, au- 
thor of Democracy and Reaction. 
A masterly philosophical and his- 
torical review of the subject. 

THE STOCK EXCHANGE 
By F. W. HIRST, Editor of the 
London Economist. t Reveals to 
the non-financial mind the facts 
about investment, speculation, 
and the other terms which the 
title suggests. 

THE EVOLOTION OF IN- 
DUSTRY 

By B. H. MAcGitEGoa, Professor 
of Political Economy, University 
of Leeds. An outline of the re- 
cent changes that have given us 
the present conditions of t th 
working classes and the princi- 
ples involved. 

EBMENTS OF 



By W. M. GELBART, Vinerian 
Professor of English Law, Ox- 
ford. A simple statement of the 
basic principles of the English 
legal system on which that of 
the United States is based. 

THE SCHOOL: An Introduc- 
tion to the Study of 
Education 

By J. J. FINDLAY, Professor of 
Education, Manchester. Pre- 
sents the history, the psycholog- 
ical basis, and the theory of the 
school wkh a rare power of sum- 
mary and suggestion. 

IRISH NATIOMAUTY 
By MRS. J. R. GREEN. ^A bni- 
liant account of the genius and 
mission of the Irish people, *'An 
entrancing work, and I would 
advise every one with a drop oi 
Irish blood in his veins or a 
vein of Irish sympathy in his 
heart to read it.** New York 
TimeJ Review. 



I** 

Volume 



S T C ** 
S /JC. vd 



HENRY 

PUBLISHERS 



HOLT AND 



COMPANY 

Nsw YORK 



BOOKS FOR THESE TIMES 

ALSACE-LORRAINE UNDER GERMAN RULE 

By CHARLES DOWNER HAZEN, Professor of History, 
Columbia University. $1.30 net. 

EUROPE SINCE 1815 
By CHARLES DOWNER HAZEN 

One of the most widely read books of non-fiction In 
recent years. With maps. $4,00 net. 

TOPOGRAPHY AND STRATEGY IN THE WAR 

By DOUGLAS W. JOHNSON, Assistant Professor of 
Physiography, Columbia University. With 20 maps and 
numerous half-tones. $2.00 net. 

THE SOUL OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 

By MOISSAYE J. OLGIN 

Mr. Olgin has been, since 1900, in the very throes of 
the new Russia. Illustrated. $2.75 net. 

OUR DEMOCRACY, ITS ORIGINS AND 

ITS TASKS 

By JAMES H. TUFTS, Professor in the University of 
Chicago, 

Not so much a consideration of the machinery of gov- 
ernment as a study of those principles and ideas the 
^machinery is meant to serve. $1SO net. 

THE STAKES OF DIPLOMACY 

By WALTER LIPPMAN. Cloth, $1.40 net; paper, 60 
cents net. 



HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS NEW YORK 



BOOKS ON SOCIAL SCIENCE 

SOCIALISM AND DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE 

By SAMUEL P. QRTH. With bibliography and "Programs* 
of the various Socialist parties. $1.75 net, 

Traces briefly the growth of the Socialist movement in 
France, Belgium, Germany, England, and attempts to determine 
the relation of economic and political Socialism to Democracy. 

MARXISM VERSUS SOCIALISM 

By V. G. SIMKHOVITCH, Professor of Political Science, Col- 
umbia University. $1.75 net 

A thorough and intimate account of all the intricate theories, 
problems and difficulties of modern Socialism. 

Professor Simkhovitch shows us that the economic tendencies 
of to-day are quite different from what Marx expected them to 
be and that Socialism from the standpoint of Marx's owa 
theory is quite impossible. 

WHY WOMEN ARE SO 

By MARY ROBERTS COOXJDGB. $1.60 net. 

**A fearless discussion of the modem woman, fcer inheritance, her 
present and her more promising future. The eighteenth and nineteenth 
century woman is keenly analyzed and compared with the highest type 
of woman to-day." A* JL /4. BookKst* 

A MONTES50RJ MOTHER 

By DOROTHY CAKFIEUB FISHER. With Illustrations, $1.35 net. 

A simple untedmical account of the apparatus, the method 

of its application, and a dear statement of the principles un- 

derlying its use. 
"Mrs. Fisher's book it the best we have seen on the subject."/- 

dependent. 

THE SOCIALIST MOVEMENT (Hom University library) 



By J. RAMSAY MACDONALB, Chairman of the British 
Party. 75 cents net. 

Traces the development of Socialistic theory, practice, and 
party organization; with a summary of tine progress of Socialist 
parties to date in the leading nations, 

"Not only the latest authoritative exposition oi Socialism, it is also 
&e ssost moderate, restrained and winning presentation of the subject 
now before the pi:biic."--5on Francisco Argonaut, 



HENRY HOLT Aim COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 




114764